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Valves in your heart ensure that blood flows in the right direction
The movement of blood through the heart is regulated by a series of heart valves which ensure that the blood flows smoothly in a single direction.
If any of the four valves are diseased or damaged the flow of blood through the heart is affected and the heart cannot work efficiently enough. There are two main ways that valves can be affected:
Heart valves can leak and narrow at the same time and it is possible for more than one heart valve to be affected.
Both leaking and narrowing valves can place additional strain on the heart muscle. The aortic and mitral valves, on the left side of the heart, are most commonly affected.
Some people are not aware that they have a heart valve problem because the heart is coping and they don't have any symptoms. However, damaged heart valves increase the workload of the heart and can place additional strain on the heart muscle. In time, depending on which heart valve is affected and how badly, the following symptoms may appear:
Your doctor may discover a valve problem when these symptoms are investigated.
Possible causes include: