Aortic Valve Disease and Getting Disability
Your heart valves have two primary functions. When they open, they control the direction in which your blood is flowing. When your heart valves close, they permit pressure differentials to exist in a closed system.
The aorta is the main artery that goes out of your heart. As blood goes out of your heart, it travels from you left ventricle (lower chamber) through your aortic valve into your aorta.
What is Aortic Valve Disease?
Aortic valve disease is a disorder that is characterized by your aortic valve not working the way it should. There are two main kinds of aortic valve disease. They are aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation.
Aortic valve stenosis is when your aortic valve narrows and does not open completely the way that it should. When this takes place, your blood flow is inhibited from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body.
Aortic valve regurgitation is marked by your aortic valve failing to close like it should. As a result of this, blood flows backward into your left ventricle.
Aortic valve disease can be a congenital disorder. This means that it is something that you were born with.
Problems leading to Aortic valve disease
Aortic valve disease may also be something that you acquire. There are several things that may result in aortic valve disease. Some of these include:
- Wear and tear of your aortic valve that results from aging
- Scarring of your aortic valve due to rheumatic fever
- Coronary artery disease (narrowing of the small blood vessels of your heart)
- Marfan syndrome (an inherited condition that affects your connective tissue)
- Endocarditis (inflammation and/or infection of the inner layer of your heart)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Cardiomyopathy ( heart muscle disease)
- Mitral valve prolapse (a heart valve does not close properly)
- An aortic aneurysm
- Syphilis (a sexually transmitted infection)
- Some types of drugs
- Radiation therapy
Signs and Symptoms you may have aortic valve disease
There are several signs and symptoms that you may experience, which may be an indication of aortic valve disease. Some of these are:
- A heart murmur (an extra or unusual sound that is heard during a heartbeat)
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness and fatigue
- Difficulty breathing at night
- Pulmonary edema (an abnormal build up of fluid in the air sacs of your lungs)
- Swelling in your legs and sometimes in the rest of your body (edema)
- Angina (chest pain or discomfort)
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Palpitations (sensations that feel like your heart is either racing or pounding)
Procedures that can help determine if you have aortic valve disease
Your doctor will probably want to know about your signs and symptoms and your personal and family medical history in order to diagnose your aortic valve disease. He or she will likely do a physical exam and want you to have some diagnostic tests and procedures. These will help identify the type of aortic valve disease that you have, as well as what is causing it and how severe it is. These tests and procedures may include:
- ECG (electrocardiogram)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Transesophageal echocardiogram
- Cardiac catheterization
- CT scan (computerized tomography)
- Chest X-ray
- PET (positron emission tomography)
- Exercise tests
- Doppler echocardiogram
As a result of aortic valve disease and/or complications that have arisen from it, you may be incapacitated and not be able to work. You may also need financial assistance.
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