If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath or swelling of your abdomen or feet, these could be signs of heart valve disease. These symptoms aren’t something you should ignore. Untreated, heart valve disease can lead to serious consequences, including heart attack or stroke. If you have any of these symptoms, or if your doctor has detected a heart murmur, visit the best cardiologist in NYC at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center.
Heart valve disease can lead to a wide range of symptoms and cause several different conditions. The disease itself occurs when one — or several — of the valves in your heart isn’t functioning properly. If you have heart valve disease, you may not always experience symptoms, but if you do, they may include:
- Weakness or dizziness
- Increasing shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Unexplained swelling of your feet, ankles or abdomen
- Sudden weight gain
- Chest pain
Whenever you experience any of the symptoms of heart valve disease, you should find a cardiologist in Manhattan so you can be evaluated. Left untreated, heart valve disease can become life-threatening or at the very least, reduce your quality of life. Your doctor at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center provides quick, effective diagnosis and treatment options to either address your heart valves or create a plan to keep you safe.
How Do Valves Work?
Heart valves lie at the exits of each of the four chambers of your heart. They are the mitral valve, aortic valve, pulmonary valve and tricuspid valve. The function of these heart valves is to keep blood flowing in a single direction through your heart. As long as your valves are working properly, blood is continually moved forward. Heart valves open to let blood flow through your heart and shut to keep it from leaking backward.
The pattern of allowing blood to flow through the valves and then shutting is repeated over and over with each heartbeat. This allows blood to flow continuously throughout your body. It’s vital that these valves remain clear and working properly for you to live a full and vibrant life.
Different Types of Heart Valve Disease
Problems with heart valves can be present at birth or they can develop because of infections, heart disease or damage caused by an accident or trauma to your chest. Some types of heart valve disease include:
- Heart valve stenosis. When a heart valve doesn’t fully open, the heart has to work extra hard to pump blood through it. This can affect any of the four valves, leading to conditions known as aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, tricuspid stenosis and pulmonic stenosis.
- When valve flaps don’t close properly, blood can leak backward into your heart. Also called a leaky valve, this disease can happen to any of your valves. It leads to conditions known as aortic regurgitation, pulmonary regurgitation, tricuspid regurgitation or mitral regurgitation.
- When one of your heart valves isn’t formed, there’s solid tissue between the chambers. This is a birth defect called atresia. This defect usually has to be resolved through surgery.
Diagnosing Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease may be diagnosed by your cardiology doctor after doing a physical examination and evaluating your complaints and symptoms. After listening for a heart murmur, which is a swishing sound that may indicate problems with your heart, your doctor also may run some tests, such as:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). Your Manhattan cardiologist can use this test to measure electrical impulses from your heart to detect abnormal heart rhythms.
- Echocardiogram. Sound waves are used to produce images of your heart in this test. Your cardiologist can assess your valves to see how well they are working.
- Cardiac MRI. Detailed images of your heart can be created using magnetic fields and radio waves, giving your cardiologist a clear picture of your valves’ performance.
- Cardiac test. Using an exercise test, your New York cardiologists can monitor your heart’s response to physical exertion. While wearing leads attached to computers, you’re asked to walk and run on a treadmill. During your time exercising, your heart activity is recorded, allowing your doctor to tell when and if you have distress. This further supports the final diagnosis.
Heart Valve Disease Treatment
Your NYC cardiologist determines the best heart valve disease treatment for you, based on a variety of factors. These factors include your age, medical history, what type of heart valve disease you have and the severity of damage. The earlier heart valve disease is caught, the better chance you have of reversing the progression of the disease and allowing your heart valves to heal.
Treatment is sometimes as simple as making healthy lifestyle changes such as increasing your activity level and choosing healthier foods. If your heart valve disease is more severe, your NYC cardiologist may recommend surgery for heart valve repair or heart valve replacement. The top cardiologist in NYC discusses with you the risks and benefits of each procedure to help you to choose the best treatment option for you.
If you have any questions for the best in class Manhattan cardiologist, top heart murmur and aortic stenosis specialist or would like to schedule a consultation or appointment please feel free to contact Dr. Steven Reisman of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center and indicate which Manhattan office (Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, or Wall Street / Financial District) you would like to see the cardiologist for the heart valve disease treatment consultation.