To begin with, what are heart murmurs? They can be described as unusual sounds heard while the heart beats. A stethoscope helps your doctor to hear them. To your knowledge, most murmurs are not dangerous or life-threatening. They often resolve on their own and even if they do not and stick around, they will cause no serious health problem.
Stated simply, murmurs are caused by blood flow through a damaged heart valve. As a result, the efficiency of the heart to pump blood will be reduced, which if not treated properly, may even cause a congestive heart failure. When this happens your venous blood pressure will be increased causing swelling and edema in the lower part of your legs (Ankle Edema). Apart from that, the excess fluid that builds up may also induce breathing difficulty. This means that you will have restrictions in doing the things you normally love to do and your style of life will be affected.
Apart from the brain, the heart is undetected the most important organ in our body. The main function of heart is to pump blood to all parts of the body so that all our organs and tissues can get sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients which are required for optimum health.
When you first visit your doctor, the first thing he will do is listening to your lungs and heart using a stethoscope. He will listen to both normal and abnormal sounds such as a murmur. There may be various causes for such a heart murmur. They may be genetic in nature or may have occurred due to a serious defect in the heart present at birth. Apart from these, damages to a heart valve can also occur from a bacterial or viral infections, or due to poor lifestyle habits such as cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption.
Keep in mind that when taken alone, a cardiac murmur is not a disease but an indicator of a more serious underlying disease. To be exact, there are mainly 2 classes of heart murmurs. The first type is called an innocent heart murmur which rarely requires treatment. The second type is called an abnormal murmur. These types of murmurs occur usually due to some other serious conditions which require ongoing and immediate treatment.
if your doctor suspects an abnormal heart murmur, he will order a series of blood tests as well as ultrasound examination of the heart (Echocardiogram).