Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve, located in the heart, doesn’t close properly. This can cause blood to leak back through the valve, meaning the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of the body. It is a common heart valve disorder that can range from mild to severe and can be a lifelong condition.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of mitral valve regurgitation is a feeling of tiredness or fatigue. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, palpitations, coughing, chest pain, and swollen ankles. The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition and how much blood is leaking through the valve.
Causes of Mitral Valve Regurgitation
The most common cause of mitral valve regurgitation is a congenital defect, meaning that it is present at birth. Other causes include damage to the valve caused by a heart attack, infection, or other diseases.
There are certain factors that can increase the risk of mitral valve regurgitation. These include high blood pressure, age, family history, smoking, and certain medical conditions such as mitral valve prolapse or rheumatic fever.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of mitral valve regurgitation. These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, managing high blood pressure and cholesterol, and avoiding activities that could put strain on the heart.
Diagnosis of mitral valve regurgitation begins with a complete physical examination and medical history. Your doctor may order tests such as an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, or cardiac catheterization to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Treatment for mitral valve regurgitation depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may not require any treatment. More severe cases may require medication to reduce symptoms and the risk of complications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the mitral valve.
Coping and Support
If you have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, it is important to work closely with your doctor to monitor your condition and seek support from family and friends. There are also support groups available for people living with heart valve diseases.
Left untreated, mitral valve regurgitation can lead to serious complications, such as congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and stroke. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions to reduce the risk of complications.
Living with Mitral Valve Regurgitation
If you have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of complications. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding activities that could put strain on your heart. It is also important to keep all of your follow-up appointments with your doctor and take any prescribed medications as directed.