Valvular Heart Disease
A Disease Involving the Heart Valves
Valvular heart disease is exactly what its name suggests: a disease involving one or more of the four valves of the heart. Your heart is made up of four valves: the aortic and mitral valves are on the left side of your heart and the pulmonary and tricuspid valves are on the right side of your heart. These valves together form what is known as the cardiac skeleton.
Although a person can be born with a valve problem (congenital), this disease is very common among the elderly since it is often a result of aging. Typically, a person is diagnosed in their late 50's, and by the age of 70, at least 10% of the population has a valvular heart disease. Treatment can be via medication but often requires a surgery to either repair the valve or replace it with an artificial heart valve.
A well-known cardiac surgeon, Ben Bridgewater, gives us some great insight into valve surgery with the following quote, “If the disease is picked up early, the outcomes from surgery are very good. Life expectancy goes back to match that of healthy people the same age.”