Caribbean L 30 ife, FEBRUARY 5-11, 2021
Symptoms of heart
Heart disease is a blanket term
that includes a variety of conditions
and illnesses. Heart valve
disease is one such condition that
poses a signifi cant threat, a threat that
many people are unaware of.
A 2016 public opinion survey of
more than 2,000 adults sponsored by
the nonprofi t Alliance for Aging Research
found that public awareness of
heart valve disease, or HVD, is very
low. Fewer than one in four survey
respondents knew much about HVD
at all. That’s despite the fact that the
AAR reports that as many as 11 million
people in the United States have
Raising awareness of HVD, including
its symptoms, can help people protect
themselves from this potentially
What is HVD?
HVD occurs when the heart’s
valves, which maintain one-way blood
fl ow through the heart, are not functioning
properly. The heart has four
valves that, when working properly,
ensure the free fl ow of blood in a forward
direction, preventing backward
leakage. This process is essential to
the successful and continuous fl ow of
blood to the heart, lungs and body.
What causes HVD?
HVD sometimes develops before
birth, meaning some instances are
congenital birth defects. In some such
instances, people may be born with
valves that are the wrong size. Some
valve diseases are acquired during
one’s lifetime. Acquired valve diseases
may be linked to conditions
such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis,
which occurs when germs enter
the bloodstream and attack the heart
What are the symptoms of HVD?
The online medical resource Medicine.
net notes that even people with
no symptoms at all may have severe
valve disease that requires prompt
treatment. As a result, it’s imperative
that people prioritize annual health
checkups. Annual physicals can be a
person’s best defense against various
conditions, including HVD.
People who experience any of the
following symptoms, which should be
reported to a physician immediately,
may be suffering from HVD.
• Shortness of breath and/or diffi -
culty catching your breath: This can
occur during daily activities or when
lying down fl at in bed. Some people experiencing
this symptom during sleep
may need to prop themselves up on pillows
to facilitate breathing.
• Weakness of dizziness: Some people
with HVD pass out as a result of
their dizziness. Some may be too weak
to perform daily activities.
• Chest discomfort: A pressure of
weight in the chest when being active
or going out in cold air may be indicative
• Palpitations: This symptom can
feel like a rapid heart rhythm, irregular
heartbeat, skipped beats, or a fl ipfl
op feeling in the chest.
• Edema: This swelling of the ankles,
feet or abdomen can, when affecting
the belly, make people feel bloated.
• Rapid weight gain: Some people
with HVD gain two to three pounds in
a single day.
Heart valve disease poses a serious
threat. More information about HVD
is available at www.valvediseaseday.