Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is a condition of the heart’s mitral valve where it does not shut flat, but billows out like a balloon. The physicians call this “a click.” When the valve does not shut completely and allows some leakage (regurgitation), this is called “a murmur.”

Approximately 20 to 30 percent of Americans have MVP. This number is rising as physicians begin to understand the condition. About 60 percent of those with MVP have no symptoms. About 25 percent has mild symptoms; whereas about two percent has severe symptoms. Symptoms such as: fatigue, a variety of chest pains, palpitations, arrhythmia, migraines, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, shortness of breath, neck pain, feeling cold or hot (not related to external temperature), arm and leg aches, shakiness, swelling of extremities, difficulty sleeping, backaches, stomach trouble, difficulty with urination, numbness in any body part, hands and feet pain, fainting, excessive perspiration or inability to perspire, visual disturbances or eye problems, skin rashes, muscle fatigue, dizziness, muscular tensions, twitching muscles, excessive gas, bowel trouble, many allergies, trouble concentrating and memory problems.

Men may have more serious complications when the dysautonomia enters the scene because of their less-flexible circulatory systems.

As if that wasn’t enough, through their two decades of research (the astronauts experience MVPS symptoms in outer space), the physicians have discovered that sometimes dysautonomia adds to the symptoms, changing its name to MVPS/D. Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls all vital organ functions such as digestion, heart rate, salivation, eye dilation, etc.

Usually a person begins to show symptoms in teens or early-twenties. Most can live with their symptoms by exercise and diet. Through aging, the syndromes worsen.

Once the autonomic nervous system becomes involves the disorder is named mitral valve prolapse syndrome with dysautonomia. Usually a physical or emotional shock starts the dysautonomia. Even hormone shifts have been considered the culprits to bring on the dysautonomia for postmenopausal women.

In order to cope with these multitude of symptoms, a person has to change his/her lifestyle. Most cannot work a full-time job, and many cannot even endure a part-time one. Medications can help, but these must be changed from time-to-time. Some persons have received disability.