(Good Things Utah) – If a doctor told you that you have a heart murmur, you’re probably wondering what that means. Do heart murmurs mean you’re in danger?
A heart murmur is when your heart makes an unusual sound as blood is flowing through your heart. The good news is that many heart murmurs aren’t dangerous. In fact, many heart murmurs go away on their own over a few months or years.
Whether you need treatment for your heart murmur will depend on what type of murmur you have. Even if you need treatment, a cardiologist will work with you to decide what treatment is best and least invasive. Generally, there are two different kinds of heart murmurs:
- Innocent heart murmurs – Heart murmurs that are caused by normal life activities (like exercising, being pregnant, or having a fever) usually aren’t dangerous and don’t need treatment.
- Abnormal heart murmurs – Heart murmurs that are caused by diseases, infections, or structural problems in your heart may need treatment.
It’s important to remember that if you’ve been diagnosed with a heart murmur, that doesn’t mean it will always stick around. Heart murmurs that aren’t dangerous or life-threatening are sometimes called “innocent heart murmurs.” One of the reasons these types of heart murmurs happen is because blood flows more quickly through your heart than normal. innocent heart murmurs can happen if:
- you’re pregnant;
- you have a fever;
- you’re exercising or doing other physical activity;
- you’re anemic (your blood cells don’t carry enough oxygen to your tissues and muscles);
- you have hyperthyroidism (you have too much thyroid hormone); or
- you’re a teenager and your body is growing quickly.
Heart murmurs often go away on their own, in time. But, if it’s an abnormal murmur then problems could include:
- Endocarditis is an infection in the heart’s valves and inner lining. This infection can seriously damage your heart’s valves.
- Septal defects are holes inside the heart. People who have septal defects were usually born with them. Whether or not septal defects are dangerous depends on where the holes are and how big they are.
Heart Valve Diseases
- Even though many people with heart valve problems were born with them, many adults don’t find out they have valve problems until they’re years older.
Not all heart murmurs need to be treated with surgery. Instead, your treatment will depend on what’s causing your heart murmur in the first place. If you have an innocent heart murmur, you probably won’t need any treatment. At University of Utah Health, a heart team that includes a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon evaluate heart murmurs. The heart team can rule out any serious, undiagnosed heart conditions that may need treatment.
Learn more by visiting University of Utah Health.
This story contains sponsored content.