Should you worry about mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening?
Fortunately, the majority of people living with MVP do not experience symptoms or problems. However, mitral prolapse can be symptomatic, and some sufferers may find their mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening over time.
Existing MVP symptoms can become more frequent or intense, or new disturbing symptoms may occur. Symptoms may worsen with certain physical activities, in particular weather conditions, or when the body is in specific positions.
Should you be concerned if you have worsening mitral valve prolapse symptoms? Worsening symptoms aren’t always cause for concern, but they can be an indicator that a prolapsed mitral valve is deteriorating. When new troublesome symptoms occur, it may be a sign that complications have developed – MVP complications that can be dangerous and even life threatening.
Why are your MVP symptoms worsening?
MVP that progresses to MVP with regurgitation is a common cause of mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening. Mitral regurgitation often develops from myxomatous degeneration. This process can damage and/or physically alter components of the mitral apparatus over time, causing changes in the mitral valve that allow blood to regurgitate back into the left atrium when the heart beats.
When blood flows back into the left atrium due to improper closure of a damaged or irregular mitral valve, symptoms may occur. Or, existing MVP symptoms may increase sharply in frequency and intensity, particularly mitral prolapse symptoms such as angina, fatigue, and heart palpitations. If blood backs up from the atrium into the lungs, there may be shortness of breath (dyspnea).
Dyspnea is a symptom to watch with MVP, especially if it occurs with exertion, when lying down, or with swelling of the feet and ankles (edema). Edema is a sign of congestive heart failure. It usually indicates that there is severe regurgitation. Arrhythmias, which cause the heart to beat too fast, too slowly, prematurely, or irregularly, can also occur with MVP and MR and should not be ignored.
There are various complications that can worsen MVP symptoms and cause new symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, and paresthesia. These include pulmonary hypertension and transient ischemic attacks. Rarely, a serious infection called infective endocarditis can develop, which may cause fever, coughing, and malaise, as well as acute chest pain, nausea, and other symptoms.
Can mitral valve prolapse get worse?
Yes, and this will often manifest physically in the form of new or worsening MVP and mitral regurgitation symptoms. However, not all cases of mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening are due to degeneration or complications. Sometimes, symptoms that mitral valve prolapse is getting worse occur from lifestyle changes or actions that the sufferer has taken with their diet.
Eating foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse, for example, can worsen or trigger symptoms. Sugary foods and caffeinated beverages are well-known MVP symptom instigators. Engaging in high-intensity exercises to avoid with MVP can also aggravate symptoms of the condition. In fact, some exercises can be dangerous with a mitral prolapse, possibly even causing sudden death.
Foods and exercise aside, there are certain medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse that can trigger and exacerbate mitral prolapse symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relief drugs and decongestant medications have been known to cause problems with MVP, particularly when combined with other drugs. There are a number of herbs and supplements that can have similar effects.
In addition to the above, tobacco smoking can worsen mitral valve prolapse. Smoking raises blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate, and can damage the heart’s blood vessels and structures, increasing the risk of MVP symptoms and complications. Weather extremes (such as extreme heat, which dehydrates the body) and increased anxiety and stress can also worsen symptoms.
What should you do about your worsening MVP symptoms?
If you find your mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening, don’t brush them off. Learn more about the MVP condition and what causes mitral valve prolapse to get worse. Have a heart-healthy MVP diet plan. Exercise safely and correctly. Avoid things that can worsen mitral prolapse. Take steps toward minimizing the risks of symptoms and problems with a prolapsed mitral valve.
Oftentimes, worsening MVP symptoms result from changes in diet, physical activity, and lifestyle. Even subtle changes like consuming less salt can worsen symptoms of the condition. Symptoms can deteriorate without changes or adjustments, though. This is when MVP sufferers should pay careful attention. Occasionally, symptoms indicate that emergency treatment is required.
Emergency mitral valve prolapse treatment may be necessary when symptoms like chest pain are persistent and acute. People with MVP experiencing such symptoms should visit a hospital emergency department as soon as possible. Symptoms indicating heart rhythm problems (irregular heartbeats, fainting, sudden breathlessness, etc.) should also be medically assessed without delay.
In general, it’s important to be under the care of a doctor when a person has MVP that is symptomatic. Healthcare professionals typically recommend having yearly checkups. Will mitral valve prolapse worsen? Not always, and usually not until later in life. Nevertheless, it is possible for the condition to deteriorate, and worsening symptoms can be a sign of dangerous complications.
Will you need mitral valve prolapse surgery?
In some cases of MVP with regurgitation, individuals who find their mitral valve prolapse symptoms worsening must undergo surgery. This involves repairing or replacing the affected mitral valve to restore proper valve and heart function. When cardiac surgeons restore function of the mitral valve and heart, the risk of complications decreases and symptoms normally cease or dissipate.
Surgery to repair or replace a mitral valve can be invasive or minimally invasive. With invasive mitral valve heart surgery (open heart surgery), the surgeon makes a large incision in the sternum (breastbone) and opens it to operate on the heart. With minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, the breastbone is only partially divided or multiple small incisions are made in the chest wall.
For those who are too sick or frail for traditional surgery, there is another minimally invasive option: the MitraClip procedure. During this specialized procedure, a catheter (thin tube) is passed through a small hole in the groin into the femoral vein and led to the heart. A small device (MitraClip) is then passed through the tube and attached to the leaflets of the mitral valve under ultrasound guidance.
Transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVr) with MitraClip therapy can be very beneficial for people with significant mitral heart valve regurgitation. It can effectively reduce leaky heart valve symptoms and improve quality of life. The procedure does not completely eliminate regurgitation, though, and it is not suitable for patients who have certain other medical conditions that affect the heart.
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