Dr. Aklog describes the symptoms of heart valve disease.
So the symptoms of heart valve disease actually are very common, very similar amongst the different valve types. The most common symptom of someone with heart valve disease is shortness of breath; shortness of breath either with exertion, with activity, or if it's severe enough, even shortness of breath at rest, and what that is, is really a warning sign by your heart to say, "I am not able to keep up with the blood flow," and blood backs up and causes the lungs to get congested. That’s the most common cause.
Another manifestation of blood backing up as a result of the valves not working well is edema or swelling that can occur anywhere in the body, but typically in the lower extremities: in the legs, around the ankles, and lower limbs. And then there are a variety of other symptoms that can occur, they relate, and they are somewhat different depending on which valve is involved.
For example, when your aortic valve is blocked, you can get something called syncope which are passing-out spells because the valve is not allowing the blood to flow adequately through to the body. Chest pain is another occasional symptom with certain types of a heart valve disease, chest pain that can actually mimic a heart attack or angina symptom.
And there’s also another symptom that can be caused by heart valve disease is so-called palpitations or a sensation of your heartbeat either going fast or skipping beats or just an abnormal sensation of your heartbeat, and that can also be a result of an abnormality with a heart valve.
About Dr. Aklog, M.D.:
Dr. Lishan Aklog is the current Director and Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at The Heart and Lung Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona and Director of EmpowHer's Medical Advisory Board. Specializing in adult cardiac care, he graduated from Harvard College followed by Harvard Medical School. Dr. Aklog was a cardiothoracic resident at Brigham and Women’s/Boston Children’s Hospital, an Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and completed international fellowships in London, England and Paris, France.
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