General Article

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart disease results when one or more of the four valves of the heart does not function properly. Either the valve will not shut completely, which is known as a prolapse, or it will not open enough so that there is a stenosis. Valvular disease may be the result of congenital defects, heart attacks, or infections.

In some situations, valvular heart disease may not be linked to coronary disease. However, there would be times when there is a connection because heart disease may lead to heart attacks that may result into the damaging of one or more of the valves. Coronary disease results from the accumulation of fatty deposits in the coronary artery that could worsen until the deposits become hard and block or disrupt the flow of blood that might trigger a heart attack.

Heart disease has been found to be the leading cause of death in women who are passed the age of 25, which is against the usual belief that breast cancer is the top killer of the female population. While men who are in their 40s have a higher risk of getting the disease compared to the female population, more women get the disease by the time they are of menopausal age.

Knowing what causes heart disease can be helpful because one would be able to make the necessary modifications in lifestyle. The main risk factors for a heart attack are smoking, stress, lack of exercise, being overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol. For women’s heart disease, another contributing factor is menopause because estrogen has the control of bad cholesterol as one of its functions.

When one knows what causes heart disease, he or she might also be able to prevent valvular disease in a number of cases. This is because the disease might be a cause of heart valve malfunction.

It has been found that 61 percent of deaths in 2003 as a result of stroke involved women. Women comprise 40 percent of all cases while only 3.33 percent of the cases of female deaths were due to cancer. The number of women with heart attacks doubles or triples once they attain menopausal age. This is because the estrogen level starts to decline during that age so that the level of bad cholesterol in the blood begins to rise. This is explained by recent findings that estrogen keeps the amount of bad cholesterol in check aside from its other functions.

In summary, those who are of menopausal age should realize that heart attacks are the top killer for the female population. Although valvular disease may not always be the result of heart attacks, knowledge about the various causes is essential in the attempt to be free from this disease.