171 words, 60 seconds
More than eight million American adults have a condition called heart valve disease, or H-V-D. It can strain the heart and inhibits blood circulation. The disease typically affects older people and those with congenital heart valve defects or who have had a heart attack, rheumatic fever, high cholesterol, or an infection in the lining of the heart walls or valves. Symptoms can include unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, swollen ankles or feet, palpitations, and chest pressure or tightness. If you have any of these, see your doctor. Fortunately, heart valve disease can be managed through proper nutrition, exercise, not smoking, weight management and medication. Most people who get treatment experience improved symptoms and can continue to live longer, healthier lives. If you have H-V-D, the damaged valve can be repaired, or replaced with an artificial one through open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure. An American Heart Association volunteer ambassador group of survivors and caregivers raises awareness of the condition and shares resources. Find them and learn more at share-from-heart--dot--heart--dot--org.