Atherosclerosis takes place over a lifetime. Complications from atherosclerosis tend to happen later in life. But the process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries starts early, progressing over decades.
Developing some atherosclerosis is often unavoidable. It's the result of aging and our own genetic tendencies. A much larger part, though, is determined by our behavior and lifestyle choices as we move through life.
How old are your arteries? Are they the ones you had in college? Or are...
Your doctor may
suspect MVP if he or she hears a
click or murmur while listening to your heartbeat. This click or murmur happens because the mitral valve is not shaped normally. MVP
may be discovered if you have a test called an echocardiogram that is done for
If your doctor thinks you may have MVP, he or she
will ask if you have a family history of MVP or heart disease and will conduct
a physical exam to check for MVP. During the exam, he or
she will listen closely to your heart.
To confirm the diagnosis,
your doctor may request an echocardiogram if you haven't had one. Your doctor
may also evaluate you for other heart conditions.
echocardiogram is the most useful test for confirming
that you have mitral valve prolapse. It is also useful to rule out MVP. Echocardiograms require careful review by an experienced doctor, because MVP is
difficult to detect with this test. Some people who have MVP will have a normal
echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is not needed if you do not have symptoms or
complications of MVP.
The size and function of the left heart
chambers (left atrium and ventricle).
Bulging (prolapse) of the
mitral valve flaps into the left upper chamber (left atrium) of the
Severe prolapse and thickened or misshapen
Mitral regurgitation (backflow) of blood through the
Early detection and regular exams
MVP is not recommended or necessary.
If you have MVP, you will have regular follow-up exams. How often you need these exams is based on whether you have complications like mitral valve regurgitation or
thickened valve flaps (leaflets). If you do not have symptoms or complications, your doctor may suggest an exam every 3 to 5