The heart’s valves are one-way “doors” that open with every heartbeat and close between beats. Healthy valves prevent blood from backing up and keep it flowing forward.
If infection, heart disease or a birth defect affects your heart valves, they may not open or close properly.
Valve disease can cause a number of symptoms:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath even when you are at rest
- dizziness, fainting or light-headedness
- swelling in your ankles or legs
Stenotic valves are rigid and narrow. They cannot open wide enough, so they do not let enough blood move from one part of the heart to another and out to the body.
Leaky valves are floppy and wide. They cannot close completely, so the one-way action does not work. Blood can back up and put extra pressure on the heart.
If you have valve disease, Banner heart disease specialists can help with diet recommendations and prescription medications. A Banner specialist can also recommend valvulplasty or surgery.
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