Heart Murmur Definition
The definition of a heart murmur is an abnormal sound produced during the heart beat. Heart murmurs are often discovered by health professionals while listening to your heart through a stethoscope. A doctor, nurse or other health professional will often hear the heart murmur as a whooshing or swishing sound during the regular heart beat cycle. The abnormal sound produced by a heart murmur is actually created by turbulence in the blood in or near your heart.
It's important to note that many heart murmurs are harmless and do not require treatment. Some people are born with a congenital heart murmur and other individuals may develop a heart murmur later in life. When a physician or other health care professional detects a heart murmur, there may be a need for further testing to rule out a more serious underlying heart condition. Many heart murmurs are discovered while being examined for something unrelated by a health professional.
There are two different kinds of heart murmurs: innocent and abnormal. Innocent heart murmurs are produced by an otherwise normal heart and these are often detected in children and newborns. The majority of innocent heart murmurs prove to be harmless. An abnormal heart murmur is more serious and can be caused by a congenital heart disease or a problem acquired with the heart's valves. Some heart murmurs are caused by holes in the walls between the heart's chambers and others may be caused by valves that do not close properly and may leak or regurgitate blood. When a child is born with a small hole between the heart's chambers, known as a septal defect, it is often not a serious cause for concern. Older children and adults may develop a heart murmur as a result of an infection or condition that creates damage that changes the heart's structure.
If you or your child are discovered to have a heart murmur, it's best to have it evaluated by your physician to determine whether it is innocent or abnormal. Some causes of abnormal heart murmurs include: rheumatic fever, endocarditis, mitro valve prolapse or calcification of the heart's valves.
If your child is born with a heart murmur, it's unlikely to be cause for alarm as many children simply outgrow them. As many as half of all children have a heart murmur at one time or another and the vast majority of them prove to be harmless. As an adult, the best way to avoid developing a heart murmur is to take good care of yourself and see a doctor if you have an infection of any kind. Getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and not abusing alcohol or drugs are a few of the things you can do to keep your heart happy and healthy.