Mitral Valve Prolapse

What is Mitral Valve Prolapse?

When individuals have this condition the mitral valve flaps in the heart fail to close correctly. As the heart pumps blood, the flaps protrude up into the atrium and this can cause a tiny quantity of blood to escape out of the valve in the reverse direction.

There is no known cause for Mitral Valve Prolapse, but it is believed that it is inherited for some individuals who have Marfan’s syndrome. Another cause is attributed to dysautonomia, which is a nervous system disorder. A large number of individuals who have mitral valve prolapse have also been diagnosed with dysautonomia.

What are the Symptoms of Mitral Valve Prolapse?

People who have mitral valve prolapse usually never experience any symptoms and this condition rarely causes any serious health issues.

Symptoms include

Chest pains may occur in some individuals but this symptom is not the sign of a heart attack. People who are having stress in their life are more prone to having some kinds of symptoms when they have mitral valve prolapse. These symptoms include heart palpitations, dizzy spells, feeling short of breath, tiredness and lack of energy. If blood begins to leak from the malfunctioning valve in the opposite direction, individuals may have additional symptoms. These include severe headaches, coughing and feelings of anxiousness.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Causes

Although other causes of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) continue to be investigated, the most common cause is when a valve in the heart that lets the blood flow from one chamber (left atrium) to another (left ventricle) slips backward into the left atrium, which is caused by overly stretchy valve leaflets.

Some people are born with a high risk of developing the condition, and some people develop the condition from other health issues, such as a connective tissue disease, Graves’ disease, Scoliosis, Marfan syndrome and Epstein’s anomaly. In a normally functioning heart, the mitral valve closes fully, but in MVP, one or a couple of the mitral valve flaps possess additional tissue protruding or prolapsing into the left atrium every time the heart contracts.

This can prevent the valve from closing securely. Cause of mitral valve regurgitation is when blood leaks backward through the valve.

MVP tends to affect men over the age of 50 and is hereditary, which means it is likely to affect another member of a family if one member had the condition.

How is Mitral Valve Prolapse Treated?

Mitral valve prolapse normally does not require any special treatment, unless other problems arise from this condition.

Treatments include

To ensure that no issues develop, individuals should get plenty of exercise, refrain from consuming caffeinated foods and drinks, and practice relaxation activities that will reduce stress.

People who have numerous episodes of heart palpitations may be prescribed beta blockers, which slow down the heart rate. Individuals who are diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse should schedule a visit with a cardiologist every couple of years. If the symptoms get worse or new symptoms appear, individuals should visit their physician for an echocardiography test.

Mitral Valve Prolapse Prevention

Just like other muscles in the body, heart muscles get stronger by engaging in some form of exercise. Therefore, one way of preventing Mitral Valve Prolapse is by engaging in exercises. For example, aerobic exercise strengthens the heart. Other forms of exercises good for the heart that will help prevent MVP include cycling, swimming, light jogging and walking for 30 minutes at a time.

Watch out for heart conditions that put you at higher risk for Mitral Valve Prolapse, including abnormal heart rhythm, heart valve infections, valve regurgitation, and atrial fibrillation.

Knowing which foods to avoid goes a great way in the safe management and prevention of the condition. Eliminate certain foods from the diet, including coffee, tea, alcohol, sweets/candy, chocolate, and some soft drinks.

Some of these foods contain stimulants, primarily caffeine, which stimulates the autonomic nervous system – producing an unstable state inside the body. The autonomous nervous system controls virtually every body system and function. When it becomes unstable, body functions slow down or speed up inappropriately.