Hundreds of thousands of people are affected by structural heart disease every year. The disease takes many forms, and many of those who struggle with it wonder if they are a candidate for structural heart disease treatment.
In order to determine if you should seek treatment for structural heart disease, you must first understand what it is. Structural heart disease is a general, catch-all term for a variety of defects of the heart and its structures. These defects can be congenital (inherited) or acquired, and can affect the heart’s valves, chambers, or other supporting structures.
The three most common structural heart disease-related defects are atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovales (PFDs), both of which are holes in the walls that separate the heart’s chambers, and valvular heart disease, in which the heart’s valves malfunction in some way.
As stated, there are two main types of structural heart disease: congenital/inherited and acquired. Structural heart disease often runs in families, and it is often connected to other genetic defects. Drinking and drug abuse during pregnancy can also increase the risk of the disease in an infant, as well as certain illnesses during pregnancy, especially rubella infections like German measles.
Acquired structural heart disease is associated with afflictions like high blood pressure, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy (a generalized disease or dysfunction of the heart as a muscle), atherosclerosis (diseases of the arteries, often associated with plaque), and the use of certain medicines, especially those used to treat migraines and diet medications. Some infections, like lupus and syphilis, can also increase one’s risk of structural heart disease, along with tumors, rheumatic fever, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The symptoms of structural heart disease are similar to those associated with congestive heart failure, namely shortness of breath and swelling of the hands/arms, feet/legs, and abdomen, but also include dizziness and fainting, fever, rapid weight gain, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. The most often noted symptom of structural heart disease is a heart murmur; while the presence of a heart murmur does not always mean you have the disease, it is typically a strong indicator.
So, what are the treatment options for structural heart disease? Treatment options depend on the type and severity of the disease. If you think you may be suffering from the disease or want to learn more about your options regarding structural heart disease treatment, make an appointment at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey in Oakland, NJ. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.