Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Mitral Valve Prolapse Therapies
Not so much a remedy as important info about an often overlooked explanation of MVP.
If you have mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and it's non-regurgitating (there's no backflow of blood), you've probably been told it was a benign condition, of no medical significance except that you should take antibiotics before having any dental procedures to prevent infective endocarditis. (That has changed; since October 2007, premedication with antibiotics is no longer recommended for people with MVP. (source)
But is MVP really an benign condition? According to a wonderful book by Ronald L. Hoffman, M.D., MVP is "an indicator of an underlying instability of the autonomic nervous system." (p. 8, Natural Therapies for Mitral Valve Prolapse)
What does this mean? It means if you have MVP, you may also have anxiety attacks and other seemingly unrelated anomalies. To clarify, MVP does not cause the other conditions, but if you have MVP, you're likely to also have these other problems.
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS), the one that controls involuntary functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and more, may suddenly, for no apparent reason, go haywire. Your fight or flight response may be triggered when there is no stimulus or danger. You're in a state of panic and have no idea why. You may have chest pains and feel like you are having a heart attack, but a visit to the emergency room tells you no, it's a panic attack, not a heart attack.
Besides being annoying and even frightening, the repeat flooding of stress hormones can weaken the immune system. Instability of the ANS can also cause or promote migraine headaches, dizziness, insomnia, heart palpitations, and an array of other problems.
So, if you have MVP and have reason to believe you may also have this "underlying instability of the autonomic nervous system" what can you do about it? First, I highly recommend getting a copy of the book I mentioned. It's small, easy to read, and inexpensive (current price at Amazon, new, is $3.95.) And while you're at it, order a couple of extra copies - one for your doctor, one for a friend or relative who also has MVP. (And no, I'm not saying that so I'll get 10 cents more commission from Amazon. I have purchased several copies already myself, and have given them all away except for my personal, very marked up copy. I'm recommending this book in duplicate because I think it is that good, that useful, and darn cheap compared to a visit to an emergency room!)
The book, only 48 pages long, is packed with understandable explanations including diagnosis, prevention of symptoms through diet, proper breathing, and properly paced exercise. It also discusses the effects MVP syndrome can have on other chronic conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, and others.
I could say so much more, but the book says it so much better. So please, if you have MVP or know someone who does, get a copy of this book - wherever you buy it. And come back and leave a comment. Was I right? Did you find the book useful and highly informative? What did your doctor think of it? I'd really like to know!
Posted by Randi at 11:01 PM