Any abnormality having to do with the heart can seem scary. You may have heard the term “heart murmur” before and thought it was along the lines of hinting at a troublesome heart issue. We are pleased to tell you that they are not overly serious and there are treatment options. This is what you should know if you or your loved ones experience one.
What is a heart murmur?
A heart murmur is what it sounds like. It is a sound that your heart makes as it beats. It often sounds like “swishing.” You wouldn’t be able to hear it without a stethoscope. It is the sound of turbulent blood flowing through the heart. Usually, heart murmurs are not serious, but they can indicate a heart problem in some cases.
How common are they?
The causes of heart murmurs are typically innocent. It can happen during pregnancy or childhood. It occurs often in children ages 3-7 but usually goes away on its own. They are also present with fevers, overactive thyroids or anemia. It can get louder or softer with exertion. Although uncommon, it can be a sign of an underlying heart problem such as heart valve abnormalities or holes in the heart. If your doctor is concerned, they will do further testing like an echocardiogram.
What are the symptoms?
You may have a heart murmur if you have any of the following:
- Large neck veins
- Chest pain
- Chronic coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Blue skin on fingertips
- Poor appetite
Because most murmurs are not caused by a serious condition, treatment is not often needed. However, the more serious causes will vary the treatment. Sometimes the murmur may be monitored or treated by antibiotics if the valves are infected. If there is a problem with the structure of the valve, reconstructive surgery is an option.
Now that you know more about heart murmurs, you’ll know what to do if they ever happen to you! If you’re diagnosed with a heart murmur and need a consultation for further testing or concerns, contact us today!