Just about any problem concerning the heart can be, well, heartbreaking. We all know that the heart is one of the most important internal organs that you have, and your overall health can be affected if there’s something wrong with it.
However, not all problems with the heart can have a significant impact on your life. In fact, there is one that may not cause any symptom at all, thus requiring no treatment most of the time. It’s called mitral valve prolapse or MVP. Just like what the name says, it has something to do with one of the many valves of the heart.
Below you will find some of the most important details on mitral valve prolapse.
The Mitral Valve
Your mitral valve consists of two flaps, and its role is to keep blood in the left atrium from flowing back to the left ventricle. In mitral valve prolapse, the said flaps fail to close evenly or smoothly, thus bulging towards the left atrium. As a result, blood may flow back to the left ventricle, causing a murmur (more about this will be discussed later).
Usually, mitral valve prolapse does not cause any symptom, and that is why it can go undetected. However, a routine physical exam may reveal the presence of mitral valve prolapse. This is particularly true when a doctor listens to the heartbeat using a stethoscope and detects a murmur.
A murmur is caused by the leakage of a little blood from the mitral valve. It sounds like a swishing or whooshing coming from inside the heart each time it beats.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, it is possible for you to have mitral valve prolapse without knowing it as it can produce no symptom. However, some people who have this condition involving the mitral valve may also experience fatigue, shortness of breath (particularly during a physical activity or when lying flat on the back), dizziness and irregular heart beat. Pain in the chest that is not related to a heart attack may be experienced as well.
It is said that the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse may worsen and become serious in men with the said heart condition who are 50 years old and above.
People at Risk
According to medical experts, anyone can have mitral valve prolapse regarding the gender, age and many other factors. However, they add that it may run in families, which means that you may have mitral valve prolapse if one or both of your parents have it.
Mitral valve prolapse is sometimes linked to a handful of other health problems. Some of them include scoliosis, muscular dystrophy, Graves’ disease, Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Once more, mitral valve prolapse is often revealed by a murmur when a doctor listens to the heart with the use of a stethoscope. The presence of a murmur alone can confirm mitral valve prolapse.
However, there are many other tests available for the diagnosis of mitral valve prolapse. They include echocardiogram or echo, electrocardiogram or ECG, chest x-ray, stress test and coronary angiogram.
Most of the time, there is really no need to have mitral valve prolapse treated. This is especially true if there are no symptoms and there is no impact on the person’s life. Still it’s important for someone who has mitral valve prolapse to talk with a doctor in order to keep it from becoming worse or causing complications.
The mitral valves may have to be repaired or replaced if mitral valve prolapse is causing complications. Some of them are an enlarged left ventricle of the heart and impaired functioning of the heart.