The structure of the heart involves four valves–tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral, and aortic. Each of these valves has a different but equally crucial function. As you may know, the heart acts as a pump in the body, and valves are how a pump functions. Therefore, deterioration or abnormality in any of the valves affects the functioning of the heart and can eventually also affect the function of the rest of the valves. This is a slow occurring process and usually, many more fatal conditions develop after the valves have been diseased. However, if caught early this whole process can be deterred allowing the individual to continue living a healthy normal life.

The most common cause of valvular disease is a rheumatic infection. There are also many other causes like hereditary syndromes, genetic abnormalities, and high blood pressure. These conditions can either lead to stenosis, which means narrowing, or regurgitation, which means leakage. Regurgitation and stenosis both have a different array of symptoms which may involve breathlessness, easy fatigability, cyanosis, swelling of the feet, fainting spells, etc.

The diagnosis of valvular disease is usually done by a noninvasive imaging technique called an echocardiogram. After the diagnosis has been established, different valvular diseases are treated with different methods. Usually, they involve some kind of invasive procedure to either repair a leaky valve or reopen a narrowed valve. Either way, these are risky procedures and may even involve surgery. This is why you should make sure you are in the best hands.

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