What is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

By: Bel Marra Health | Heart Health | Saturday, August 01, 2015 - 04:32 AM

Symptoms, causes and treatment of mitral valve regurgitationThe heart has many valves and chambers to allow blood to enter and be released in order for the body to work. Some major valves in the heart are the aortic valve, tricuspid valve and the mitral valve.

These valves play important roles and if there is a problem with one of them, it can affect a person’s heart. One issue in particular is called mitral valve regurgitation and it occurs when the valve does not close properly allowing blood to flow backward into the upper heart chamber. When this happens there can be a lack of blood flow to the rest of the body that can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure.

Mitral valve regurgitation comes in two forms: Chronic and acute.

  • In chronic mitral valve regurgitation development occurs slowly and over time.
  • In acute mitral valve regurgitation it can occur suddenly and be life-threatening.

Causes and risk factors of mitral valve regurgitation

causes of mitral valve regurgitationSo what would cause the mitral valve not to function properly? Well, although mitral valve regurgitation can occur suddenly, it is usually caused after a heart attack. Other conditions, as well, can weaken the mitral valve including heart disease, hypertension, infection of the heart valves, mitral valve prolapse, rheumatic heart disease and swelling of the lower left chamber of the heart.

Factors which can increase one’s risk of developing mitral valve regurgitation include:

  • History of mitral valve prolapse or mitral valve stenosis (valves become stiff)
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Certain medications
  • Having an infection like endocarditis
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Age – mitral valve regurgitation occurs more so in those who are middle-aged and older.

Symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation

Symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dyspnea – shortness of breath
  • Heart murmur – blood flowing excessively through the heart.

Living with mitral valve regurgitation

treatment for mitral valve regurgitationIt is possible to live with mitral valve regurgitation as medications can be prescribed to combat hypertension, thin the blood and release excess water (diuretics). Partaking in a healthy lifestyle, too, can help make living with mitral valve regurgitation easier.

Some lifestyle habits to take on are to quit smoking, follow a heart healthy meal plan full of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. Not only will these tips help with mitral valve regurgitation, but they can also boost heart health to reduce the risk of heart attack.

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