Mitral Valve Prolapse Treatment in Montgomery, AL
Do you have chest pain, dizziness, or irregular heartbeat? Are you currently managing another heart condition? You may have mitral valve prolapse, the bulging of the heart's left upper chamber (atrium) when contracting. This can sometimes make blood leak backward, causing a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.
Approximately 7.8 million Americans have mitral valve prolapse;1 it usually isn't dangerous or life-threatening, but getting your condition checked is important. To speak with a mitral valve prolapse specialist today in Montgomery, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
What are the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse?
Many people with mitral valve prolapse never show symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, it's likely because of a complication called regurgitation, which is when blood leaks backward into your affected mitral valve. These symptoms are typically mild, pass quickly, and include:
- chest pain
- racing or irregular heartbeat
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- difficulty breathing, often when lying down or exercising
If you have a preexisting heart condition or you feel severe chest pain, speak with your medical provider or seek emergency medical attention right away. Many other conditions can resemble mitral valve prolapse, so it's always best to seek medical attention to diagnose or rule out any other medical conditions.
What causes mitral valve prolapse?
Mitral valve prolapse occurs when your heart's mitral valve flaps loosely instead of closing tightly when your heart pumps blood.
People of any age can develop this condition, but serious mitral valve prolapses typically occur in men over 50. Magnesium deficiencies have been linked to MVP and other neuromuscular symptoms. Research has shown this condition is genetic, but more studies are needed to fully understand its functions.1
How is mitral valve prolapse diagnosed?
First, your healthcare provider will give you a physical exam, including listening to your heart with a stethoscope. Other tools used to diagnose or rule out mitral valve prolapse include:
- echocardiogram: a non-invasive ultrasound test that shows whether blood is flowing back into your mitral valve
- transesophageal echocardiogram: your medical provider inserts a flexible tube down your throat and into your stomach to get a more detailed image of your heart
- chest x-ray: shows a picture of your heart, to determine if it's enlarged
- electrocardiogram (ECG): probes on your chest measure your heart's electrical impulses to detect heartbeat irregularities
- stress test: while walking on a treadmill, you'll have your blood pressure monitored so your provider can determine whether mitral valve regurgitation hinders your ability to exercise
- coronary angiogram: your healthcare provider inserts a catheter into your artery and threads it through your blood vessels leading to your heart; used to diagnose underlying conditions or gauge the severity of your condition
How is mitral valve prolapse treated?
If you have symptoms or your mitral valve is leaking blood, your healthcare provider may recommend medications or surgery. Even if you show no symptoms and require no treatment, you should attend all follow-up appointments to monitor your condition.
Rely on your healthcare provider to help you decide which treatment is best for you. Some treatments should not be used simultaneously – many supplements interact negatively with pharmaceuticals, and even with other supplements.
As with any medical procedure, results of these treatments will vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, environmental conditions, and other health factors.
These medications are used to treat chest pain, heart rhythm irregularities, or other complications:
- beta blockers: block adrenaline production which causes your heart to beat more slowly with less force; side effects include: depression, shortness of breath, loss of sex drive, insomnia, slow heartbeat, joint pain, and memory loss or confusion
- diuretics: help drain lung fluid; potential side effects include irregular heartbeat and kidney failure
- anticoagulants: block the production of certain proteins in the liver to reduce the risk of blood clots; side effects include heavy bleeding in bowel or brain
- aspirin and other antiplatelets: keep platelets from sticking to each other and to the walls of blood vessels; can help reduce the risk of blood clots
MVP has been linked to a deficiency of magnesium, a nutrient that stabilizes muscle, nerve and heart rhythm function. In one study 60% of MVP patients showed below normal blood magnesium levels. But after five weeks of supplementing their diets with magnesium, they experienced reduced physical weakness, chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations and anxiety.2
Magnesium is found in green vegetables such as spinach, and in nuts and seeds, wheat germ and bran, but can only be measured in supplement form. Consult with your healthcare provider for recommended dosage.
Other nutrients that perform similar functions include:
- B vitamins: found abundantly in green vegetables, whole grains, meats, and dairy products, as well as in supplement pills, may reduce anxiety and promote heart health
- L-carnitine: an amino acid supplement that may increase energy levels and promote heart health
- D-ribose: a sugar supplement that may increase energy levels and promote heart function, but can intensify the effects of diabetes drugs, beta blockers, and aspirin-based medications
- coenzyme Q10: a supplement that may reduce fatigue, enhance heart function, and increase energy, but may interact with your medication
- kava: a supplement that may reduce anxiety, palpitations, and insomnia, but must not be taken with any prescription drugs - especially anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Valium; kava may also harm your liver
- hops: seeds of the hop plant may relieve anxiety, relax muscles, reduce inflammation, and relieve insomnia; available in capsule, tablets, liquid, and tinctures - must not be used with alcohol or sedatives, or during pregnancy
- valerian: a root that may relieve insomnia, relax muscles, and lower blood pressure; available in capsule, tea, tincture, or liquid
Mitral valve prolapse is the most common heart-valve condition that requires surgery.1 Mitral valve prolapse surgery is usually only used when other treatment options have failed, or if there is a fear that mitral valve prolapse may cause you heart failure.
These procedures include:
- valve repair: this preserves your own heart valve, surgically modified to stop blood from flowing backward
- valve replacement: this procedure replaces your heart valve with an artificial prosthetic valve; post-operative care includes using blood thinners
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Mitral valve prolapse usually shows no symptoms and presents no immediate danger, but diagnosing it is the first step toward managing and monitoring it so it doesn't intensify.
1. Genetics, and Molecular Basis." Circulation 129.21 (2014): 2158–2170. PMC. Web. 4 June 2018 Delling, Francesca N., and Ramachandran S. Vasan. "Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Mitral Valve Prolapse: New Insights into Disease Progression.
2. Am J Cardiol, 1997; 79: 768-72.
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