Ask a Cardiologist: What is a Heart Murmur?

Posted on: September 17, 2020

heart murmur Houston, TX

A heart murmur may sound extremely frightening; however, the majority of the time, it is actually harmless or innocent. Many people are familiar with the term, but may not understand why it happens or how it is addressed. Thankfully, a cardiologist is here to explain it. 

When dealing with underlying heart issues or if there is a potential risk of developing heart disease due to genetics, it can be helpful to review the following information. Additionally, undergoing regular heart screenings can be very helpful in preventing conditions and getting out in front of them before a heart murmur even occurs. 

An overview of a heart murmur

Outlined below is information right from a cardiologist regarding heart murmurs. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is the sound of blood flow through the heart, which typically sounds like whooshing or swishing, both of which are not normal. The sounds are made by turbulent blood in or around the heart, and the murmur occurs as the heart cycles through each beat. A normal heart produces two beats that sound like tiny thumps, but a heart murmur will sound much different. 

Causes

The most common cause of a hurt murmur is an abnormal flow of blood through the heart. However, what causes the abnormal flow is more important. Outlined below are a few reasons why a heart murmur may occur. 

  • A high fever
  • An overactive thyroid
  • Anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy

In other rare scenarios, a heart murmur may occur due to a problem with the valve. Everyone's heart has valves that allow blood to enter into the upper and lower chambers. Blood flow is necessary here in order to keep the heart pumping; however, there are situations in which the valves can malfunction, causing problems. The following conditions may result in a heart murmur. 

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Mitral or aortic regurgitation 
  • Mitral valve or aortic stenosis
  • Aortic sclerosis and stenosis
  • Mitral valve prolapse 

Almost all valve conditions have heart murmurs as part of their symptoms. 

Treatment

The majority of the time, a heart murmur does not require treatment. Instead, a cardiologist will look for other signs or symptoms that may accompany the heart murmur. If there are any present then further testing may be required to determine if there is a larger issue. However, if there are no other noticeable or detectable symptoms then it is likely that the heart murmur is harmless. In the case of a harmless heart murmur, a cardiologist may recommend a better diet, regular exercise, less stress and a good night's sleep. 

Learn more today!

A heart murmur can indicate something very serious, which is why it is necessary to consult with a cardiologist on a regular basis. Routine heart screenings can identify a heart murmur, which can help the cardiologist determine the appropriate course of action. To learn more or to get started with a screening, reach out today.  

Request an appointment here: https://cyfaircardio.com or call Cyfair Cardiology at (281) 890-4886 for an appointment in our Houston office.

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