It is known that having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can greatly reduce heart disease risk.
But many people forget that their heart valves also need to be taken care of.
Dr. Catherine Otto, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, hopes people can be more aware of heart valve diseases.
There are four heart valves that control the direction of blood flow. The four valves are an aortic valve, tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, and mitral valve.
The two valves on the right side pump blood into the lungs. These valves usually don’t have health problems.
But the valves on the left are much more vulnerable. They pump blood into the body.
According to the American Heart Association, aortic valve stenosis is the most common and most serious of valve disease problem
This disease occurs when the aortic valve narrows and prevents blood from the left ventricle from flowing to the aorta.
The condition is more common in adults age 60 and older. Patients may experience shortness of breath, chest pain and pass out.
This disease develops quite slowly and may take many years to be a life-threatening problem.
According to researchers, the best thing a patient can do is to tell his/her doctor the symptoms and monitor the disease progression.
It is very important to track and treat the disease because once the symptoms develop, it can devastate fast. Many patients die within a couple of years.
Currently, valve replacement is the only effective method. Doctors now have a less invasive valve replacement procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
This treatment can help patients recover fast, especially for patients who are 80 or older.
How to prevent heart valve disease?
Researchers suggest people exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
These habits can help patients tolerate the surgeries and procedures they must endure. They also can help doctors track how their symptoms are progressing.
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