The symptoms of heart valve problems may vary – and in some cases may resemble the signs of a heart attack. Becoming familiar with the symptoms and seeing a doctor to get checked out is important.
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The symptoms of a heart attack and valvular heart disease can be similar, but the problems are different. Learn more from Dr. James B. Hermiller, The Care Group at The Heart Center Indianapolis.
If you have heart valve disease, you may or may not have had any symptoms before your diagnosis. Some people live their entire lives with a heart valve problem and never know it.
If you do have symptoms, don’t assume they are a reliable indicator of the seriousness of your condition. You may have no symptoms but need prompt treatment. Or you may have severe symptoms but have a minor valve problem. Because the severity of symptoms may or may not match the severity of the disease, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis if you experience symptoms of heart valve disease.
Symptoms of heart valve disease include the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty catching your breath during exertion, normal daily activities, or while lying in bed
- Weakness or dizziness, fainting or passing out
- Chest discomfort, especially during activity or when stepping out into the cold
- Heart palpitations, which feel like a fast or irregular heartbeat or that your heart is flip flopping
- Swollen ankles and feet or swelling in the abdomen, possibly with a bloated feeling in your stomach. Your doctor may refer to the swelling as edema.
- Sudden weight gain, for example, a two- to three-pound gain in one day
- Low or high blood pressure
- Abdominal pain due to an enlarged liver (tricuspid valve malfunction)
Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and are concerned that you might have heart valve disease. Be sure to download and print Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Heart Valve Disease as a reminder of what you want to ask and to take notes during your visit.