I have recently had a Well Woman check-up and it was discovered that I have a floppy mitral heart valve. I have been told that this won't cause me any problems, apart from occasional palpitations. I also have to have antibiotics before I go to the dentist. Is this something that I was born with, or is it a sign of ageing? I am 42 and perfectly healthy otherwise.
Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:
A floppy mitral valve is also known as mitral valve prolapse. It is a pretty harmless condition that affects the heart valve that lies between the two chambers on the left side of the heart. Recent research seems to show that it usually does not cause any symptoms at all. But it is important to take antibiotics before having any dental work done, as the floppy valve can sometimes trap bacteria that are released into the bloodstream during dental surgery. The British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk has a good page about mitral valve prolapse.
Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to firstname.lastname@example.org. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.