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What Are the Symptoms of Valve Disease?

The mitral valve is located inside the heart between the atria and the ventricles.
Symptoms of valve disease may include shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.
Article Details
  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Symptoms of valve disease may vary from patient to patient, and some people show no symptoms at all. Noticeable symptoms of valve disease include shortness of breath, palpitations, or dizziness. An irregular heartbeat, often called an arrhythmia, may create a fast heartbeat, or skipped beats. Edema, which is a swelling that occurs on a specific area of the body, may be present in people with heart valve disease.

Physicians often check for swollen ankles when they suspect valve disease in patients. Swelling may also occur in other areas of the body, such as legs. Patients with valve disease often have excessive that which leaks from the heart blood vessels. In some cases, the physician may prescribe a diuretic to reduce the swelling.

In addition to swelling or breathlessness, some people with heart valve disorders will experience extreme fatigue. Tiredness may be especially noticeable after physical activities. In the case of severe heart valve disease, fatigue may be present even during inactivity.

Other common symptoms of valve disease include chest pain, or pain in the shoulders and back. The pain may be mild and occur only after physical exertion, or it may be moderate to severe. Pressure in the chest is also common in patients with heart valve disorders. When such symptoms of valve disease are recurring or severe, the individual should seek immediate medical attention.

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Many people with heart valve disorders have a heart murmur, which a physician can detect with a stethoscope. Congenital valve disease does not always affect a patient's quality of life, if certain precautions are taken. Some patients will have to restrict certain physical activities, however, if a doctor believes it is necessary.

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a condition that may cause many of the aforementioned symptoms. Additionally, MVP sometimes produces severe migraine headaches in certain people. Due to certain imbalances in the central nervous system in patients with MVP, it is not uncommon for some to suffer from anxiety attacks. Symptoms may be controlled by anti-anxiety medications, as well as nitroglycerine for chest pain.

Although not considered common, symptoms of valve disease may also include a rapid increase in weight. Although individuals may attribute the sudden weight gain to other factors, a proper diagnosis is important. If a physician suspects heart valve disease, he may request an electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can also help the doctor determine if the patient has an abnormality with the heart valves.

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