Mitral valve prolapse does not require any treatments in most cases, and is not considered to be life threatening unless you start to have serious symptoms develop. These symptoms may never show up, but in most cases they will and can be quite concerning but they can be managed. However, if they reach the point that you cannot properly manage them any further, treatments will then be required. But it never has to reach this point in the vast majority of cases, if you take one very important nutrient; the mineral magnesium.
What is it?
Mitral valve prolapse, which is also referred to as MVP, is a disorder that occurs when the value that is located in your hearts chambers does not close properly. This value is located between your hearts upper left chamber which is referred to as the left atrium, and the lower left chamber, referred to as the left ventricle. When everything is operating properly with these valves, the left ventricle contracts and the valve’s flap bulges upward into the atrium. However, this disorder sometimes will lead to portions of blood leaking backward causing some blood to flow into the left atrium, which is a condition referred to as mitral valve regurgitation.
It is not uncommon for this disorder never to produce any symptoms and you may never know that you have it until your heart is tested and you are told that you have a heart condition. However, if this regurgitation is moderate to severe; symptoms will gradually start to appear. In most all cases, they will be very mild at first but can reach a point where they can no longer be controlled without treatments or even surgery in the most difficult of cases.
The bulging that is occurring may keep your valves from closing tightly which lets blood leak into the atrium, and if it is only a small amount, it will not cause any problems at all. This disorder is also sometimes referred to by other names besides MVP and includes click-murmur syndrome, floppy value syndrome, as well as Barlow’s syndrome.
Mitral valve prolapse does not have an extensive list of symptoms, and for this reason if and when they do start to surface, it is usually very easy for your doctor to identify the disorder. The first symptom is referred to as arrhythmia and this is a situation where you will have either a racing heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat. Once this does occur, the next symptom will begin to surface which will be both dizziness as well as lightheadedness. You may also experience the next set of symptoms which is difficult time breathing or a very sudden shortness of breath.
This usually occurs during some kind of physical activity, or it can occur in almost the complete opposite scenario; when you are lying in a flat position. The next symptom will be a slight fatigue that may start to increase in severity as the symptoms become stronger. The final symptoms will be chest pains, however, there is some good news if it is this disorder; the chest pains are not the result of a heart attack or by an underlying coronary disease.
The bad news is that chest pains are never a good sign and it is in this stage where you most likely will be diagnosed with this mitral valve prolapse. Other symptoms may include severe headaches, muscle cramps, as well as mood swings.
Mitral valve prolapse, although it is often very mild, can develop to a point where it cannot be controlled by medications and this can easily lead to complications in middle aged or older adults. The first of these complications is mitral insufficiency, or mitral valve regurgitation. If the regurgitation is severe enough, it may require surgery to repair the malfunctioning valve or even replace it in some cases to prevent heart failure form occurring. The next potential complication is arrhythmias are which rapid or irregular heartbeats and this not considered to be a serious threat unless it occurs in conjunction with regurgitation.
The final potential complication is an infection that can develop and this is referred to as endocarditis. On the inside of your heart there are four chambers as well as four valves that are lined by very thin membranes. These membranes are call endocardium, and endocarditis is an infection that develops in this inner lining. If mitral valve prolapse intensifies, it will increase the chances of bacterial infection which can be very dangerous.
Mitral valve prolapse is considered to be a hereditary disorder by most experts, and for some reason it seems to affect women more than men at almost a three to one ratio. However, there also seems to be another oddity about this disorder; if you are tall and slender with long arms and a thin chest, for some reason you are also much more prone to be affected. Because of this and if you have a family history of this disorder, you can easily be pro-active and protect yourself by supplementing with nutrients, especially the mineral magnesium.
This disorder and the symptoms that it causes all seem to occur in your body’s autonomic nervous system. This nervous system controls your glands, your heart muscles, as well as the overall tone of smooth muscles which technically involve your skin as well as your respiratory and digestive systems. Mitral valve prolapse seems to cause an over-reaction in this system which makes it difficult for your body to adjust to some changes.
All minerals play very important roles in your heart, especially in keeping it beating properly, but none of them are as critical in this process as magnesium. The nerves that coordinate your heartbeats as well as the muscles that control them must have sufficient quantities of magnesium to perform these critical tasks. In fact, there have been several studies done with this disorder, and an extremely high percentage of all people in each study that have the disorder have one thing in common; they have low blood levels of magnesium.
However, there was one study done at the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama that went one step further as it found that magnesium supplements also relieved most of the symptoms that developed with the disorder. This study indicated that of the 94 people that participated, over 60 percent of them had low blood cell levels of magnesium. This study then split the group exactly in half and gave one half 250 to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium daily and the other half a placebo. Both groups took these along with their regular medication for periods that ranged from four months to four years.
According to Cecil Coghlan, M.D., professor of medicine at the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine, the group that took the magnesium showed a 90 percent decrease in muscle cramps as well as over a 50 percent decrease in chest pains and similar results with heart arrhythmia. They also had fewer headaches and less fatigue, and the group that took the placebo showed virtually no changes at all.
Mitral valve prolapse may never show any symptoms if you are lucky, but if you are not, you may develop several of them. If you have a family history of this disorder and if you fit into the other more affected categories, magnesium supplements may stop the symptoms before they ever have a chance of surfacing.
Mitral valve and mitral valve prolapse. American Heart Association. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4717
Mitral valve prolapse. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/mvp/mvp_all.html
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