Mitral Stenosis – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is Mitral Stenosis?

Mitral stenosis is a heart condition that occurs when one of the heart’s valves — the mitral valve — malfunctions, narrowing the valve and causing a restriction of blood flow. This condition may cause a buildup of pressure in the lungs and left atrium, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. Diagnosis and treatment for mitral stenosis varies, depending on the severity of the condition.

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What are the Symptoms of Mitral Stenosis?

Individuals with mitral stenosis may experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. These may include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, a rapid heart rate, leg and ankle swelling, palpitations, and coughing up blood.

What Causes Mitral Stenosis?

The most common cause of mitral stenosis is the buildup of scar tissue on the mitral valve. This condition, known as rheumatic fever, is caused by a bacterial infection. Other causes of mitral stenosis include congenital heart defects, tumors, and infection.

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How is Mitral Stenosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of mitral stenosis is typically done with a physical exam, echocardiogram, and chest X-ray. Doctors may also order additional tests such as an electrocardiogram or MRI to make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment for Mitral Stenosis

Treatment of mitral stenosis usually involves lifestyle changes to manage symptoms, such as quitting smoking and limiting activities that cause heart strain. Medications, such as diuretics, can also be used to reduce the pressure in the left atrium. In some cases, a procedure known as a mitral valve replacement is needed to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

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Health Implications of Mitral Stenosis

If left untreated, mitral stenosis can lead to serious health complications, including enlarged left atrium, arrhythmias, heart failure, and pulmonary arterial hypertension. It is important for individuals with mitral stenosis to follow their doctor’s recommendations for lifestyle changes and medications. With proper treatment and monitoring, individuals with mitral stenosis can live a long, healthy life.

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