Heart valve disease can be there at birth or develop due to damage from previous heart conditions or infections. Age is the greatest risk factor for heart valve disease–one out of every 10 people age 75+ have it. While some types are not serious, others can lead to major complications, including death. Millions of Americans have heart valve disease and every year, an estimated 25,000 people in the U.S. die from the disease.
Symptoms of heart valve disease can include shortness of breath; weakness or dizziness; pain, tightness, or discomfort in the chest; fainting or feeling faint; fatigue; rapid or irregular heartbeat; lightheadedness; decrease in exercise capacity; and swollen abdomen or ankles and feet. However, people with heart valve disease do not always have symptoms, even if their disease is severe. For these people, a heart murmur is the most important clue.
The good news is that most heart valve disease can be successfully treated with valve repair or replacement in patients of all ages. Unfortunately, awareness of heart valve disease is alarmingly low, with close to half of respondents to a national survey reporting that they have not heard of heart valve disease.
This February 22, and throughout the year Baton Rouge Cardiology Center is proud to participate in the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day campaign. The campaign encourages you to Listen to Your Heart, know your risk factors, get your heart checked regularly, and join the movement to help spread the word and raise awareness. Learn more at www.ValveDiseaseDay.org.