Mitral valve prolapse is one of the most common diseases of the heart. Generally, it does not cause any symptoms. People having it may even not know about it until the healthcare professional detects it upon auscultation. Living with mitral valve prolapse is not problematic because it does not hinder your day to day activities. But getting the evaluation tests done every three to five years is a must. Do not miss the monitoring tests, as early detection prevents the condition from worsening. If you have any health problems, you must visit a doctor for a consultation.
What is mitral valve prolapse?
The valves are present inside our heart that prevent the backflow of blood. One of those valves is a mitral valve that is present between the left atrium and the left ventricle. It prevents the backflow of the blood that comes from the left atrium to the left ventricle. In some cases, the mitral valve does not close completely, leading to bulging of flaps into the left atrium, a condition is called mitral valve prolapse. It also can lead to the backward flow of blood sometimes. Due to which your heart has to work harder than usual.
Who is at increased risk?
Generally, there is no such reason for getting the mitral valve prolapse. However, family history can be a reason for it. But some causes which can put you at risk of getting it are;
Having Marfan syndrome-a connective tissue disorder
Having an overactive thyroid gland-hyperthyroidism
Scoliosis-having a curvature in the spine
What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?
Generally, the patient has no signs and symptoms associated with mitral valve prolapse. But when the blood pools backward, the heart has to work harder. It can cause signs and symptoms like;
Shortness of breath during physical activity
Cough that worsens upon lying down straight
The signs and symptoms of mitral valve prolapse resemble other diseases like asthma. If you have any of these symptoms, you must visit a healthcare professional.
What are the complications of mitral valve prolapse?
In about 10% of people, mitral valve prolapse can become bothersome. Since the flap of the mitral valve does not close properly, it can lead to regurgitation of blood backward, which can, in turn, cause the following symptoms.
Swelling in legs
Increased risk of endocarditis- the infection of the lining of the heart.
Palpitations- the person may feel like their heart is racing or pounding.
Arrhythmias- some may feel like their heart is missing a beat or it pauses for a second.
Atrial flutter-a condition in which irregular beat originates from the upper chamber of the heart called atria. It increases the risk of clotting inside the heart. Therefore, indirectly increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
What are the treatment options for mitral valve prolapse?
Most people with mitral valve prolapse do not require treatment. The healthcare provider will make sure that you get all the monitoring tests done every three to five years or less. Through it, they can get an insight into the condition and severity of your mitral valve prolapse.
For treatment, the healthcare providers will focus on the complaints of the patient and prescribe according to it. Some of the treatment options for mitral valve prolapse are;
There is no such medicine that can correct the defect of the mitral valve. But drugs can be given to improve the quality of life and reduce the signs and symptoms. The healthcare providers may prescribe them to help control your heart rate, normalize the beating pattern of your heart, prevent blood clots and reduce the risk for stroke and heart attack, reduce the amount of load that your heart has to work, and to remove the excess fluid from your body.
To correct the abnormality in the mitral valve prolapse, surgery can be done. The healthcare professionals may repair the valve or replace it with a synthetic one. The doctors will perform surgery when symptoms start to hinder your day to day activities and are not getting any better with medications.
Mitral valve prolapse is a condition in which the valve present between the left atrium and the left ventricle does not close properly. It can also lead to the backward flow of blood in the heart, which in turn increases the chances of infection of the heart. People having mitral valve prolapse must practice good self-hygiene. They must keep their teeth, skin, and other body parts clean. If you are facing difficulty in breathing or a chronic cough that is not going away, you must consult with a doctor soon.