Valvular heart disease occurs when the valves of the cardiac system aren’t working correctly due to congenital defect, infection such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis or health conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, syphilis, high blood pressure, aortic aneurysms and connective tissue disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with valvular heart disease, don’t panic. Our team at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey can create a personalized treatment plan for you.
In many cases, valvular heart disease has few symptoms, especially in its earliest stages. Those with valvular heart disease may notice shortness of breath, weakness, exhaustion or fatigue, chest pain or discomfort, heart palpitations, edema and faster than normal weight gain (maybe even up to two pounds per day). Left untreated, this condition can lead to serious complications such as congestive heart failure.
While treatment modalities vary depending on the underlying cause of the disease and the severity of the illness, all treatment options are prescribed with the goals of protecting the valves from further damage, lessening symptoms and repairing or replacing damaged valves.
There are various medications that may be prescribed for patients with valvular heart disease. Disease that is not well-controlled by the appropriate medication or combination of medications may require other treatments or procedures to repair or replace the valves. Our team of professionals can usually accomplish this using minimally-invasive techniques that involve minimal downtime. However, the right treatment or combination of treatments for you will depend on a variety of factors and will ultimately be determined during an in-depth consultation at our office.
If you have valvular heart disease, particularly when combined with other cardiac issues, it’s important to follow our team’s advice for taking medications and making changes designed to protect your heart from further damage. These may include taking care of the teeth and gums, taking prescribed antibiotics before having certain procedures and attending regular follow-up visits at our office.
It’s also important to lead a heart healthy lifestyle to lower your risk for complications. This includes smoking cessation if you smoke, losing weight if you are overweight or obese, limiting alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day, exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet that’s low in salt and fat.