How do you take care of your heart after 40?
As you find yourself hitting 40, you may start thinking about health issues you previously didn’t concern yourself with. Should heart health be one of them?
A heart murmur is an unusual or extra sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs can range from faint to loud, and often sound like a whooshing or swishing noise. Heart murmurs can be due to congenital heart defects, valve abnormalities, infections in the heart or heart failure. Some heart murmurs are harmless, while others indicate a serious abnormality.
Functional or physiologic heart murmurs occur in at least half of all children at some time. They may last throughout an individual’s life without ever causing problems. Functional heart murmurs may increase in intensity during fever, pregnancy and anemia.
Among the conditions that can cause pathologic heart murmurs are:
If you have these symptoms, a physician experienced in heart conditions should evaluate you.
Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center provides an integrated approach to treating heart disease, including murmurs. Patients are often referred to our cardiologists for evaluation of heart murmurs; if the murmur turns out to be the result of a serious heart problem, the cardiologist may follow the patient or refer him or her for treatment.
A physician listening to the heart with a stethoscope during a routine physical examination detects most heart murmurs. Heart murmurs are graded on a scale from 1-6, with six reflecting the loudest murmur.
Tests a physician uses to confirm the diagnosis of a pathologic heart murmur include:
Generally, heart murmurs do not require treatment. However, pathologic heart murmurs may require treatment or at least monitoring over time. Treatment may include medication, surgery or other procedures performed in the cath lab.
Anticoagulants, beta blockers, diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are among the many medications prescribed for most heart problems.
Surgeries and procedures to treat heart murmurs can include: