A heart valve problem refers to any type of damage to one of the four valves in the heart. These one-way valves allow blood to flow in and out of the heart. When one or more of these stops functioning properly, it is called heart valve disease. This condition is often the result of aging, illness, or another heart problem.
At Dignity Health’s Chandler Regional Medical Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, our cardiology departments offer a full range of care for heart valve disease in Arizona, with access to clinical research and trials, for improved outcomes. Take our online heart assessment to learn more about your risk factors for heart disease.
Heart Valve Disease Symptoms
Because symptoms of heart valve disease are often subtle, it is common for the disease to be discovered only through a routine checkup at the doctor’s office. Your doctor may hear a murmur or other abnormal sound when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.
When heart valve disease symptoms do develop, they often include:
- Chest pain
- Very rapid heartbeat with physical activity
- Heart palpitations, or a feeling of fluttering in the chest with activity
- Symptoms of congestive heart failure, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the feet and legs
If you have one or more of these symptoms, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health for a diagnosis and personalized treatment. today.
Heart Valve Disease Causes
Heart valve disease can be caused by an illness that hasn’t been treated, a related heart problem, or the normal process of aging. Some people are born with it. This is known as congenital heart disease.
Other causes of heart valve disease include:
- Infection of the lining of the heart
- Rheumatic fever, resulting from an untreated strep infection
- Congenital birth defects
- Heart attack, along with severe scarring and other heart conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Changes to the tissue in the heart valves, such as stiffening, due to normal aging
Heart Valve Disease Treatment & Prevention at Dignity Health
When you visit Dignity Health, your heart doctor will focus on the following aspects for treatment of heart valve disease:
- Reducing your symptoms and improving your day-to-day life and routine
- Repairing or replacing damaged heart valves
- Treating or managing other health conditions that may cause valve damage
Your doctor can do this by prescribing medication or through surgery. Together with your doctor, you can determine which option is best for you, based on the type of condition you have and its severity.
While heart valve disease is not always preventable, there are ways you can reduce your risk. If you have a current infection, such as strep throat, make sure to get it treated right away. Following a healthy diet that is low in salt (s)odium, fat, sugar, and processed foods is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Regular exercise is also a good way to lower your risk. At Dignity Health, experienced cardiologists and heart surgeons provide excellence for heart valve disease in Arizona.