What Are Diseased Heart Valves?

Diseased heart valves can affect the flow of blood through the heart. The heart consists of four valves, with two large blood vessels leaving the heart to ensure that blood doesn’t go back into the heart after it has been pumped out.

Diseased or damaged heart valves can affect this flow by restricting or obstructing the blood—this is known as valve stenosis or narrowing. This puts extra strain on the heart so that it has to pump much harder to get the blood through the narrowing. If the valve doesn’t close properly, then it’s known as a leaky valve, valve incompetence, or regurgitation.

What Causes Diseased Heart Valves?

There are a few known causes, and these include being born with an abnormal valve/s, having had rheumatic fever, damaged heart muscle after a heart attack, or cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle). If you’ve had rheumatic fever or a previous condition with endocarditis, these can all have an effect.

One of the main causes of diseased heart valves is inflammation that builds up inside the heart. If this is removed, the symptoms of diseased heart valves will ease and eventually be eliminated.

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