Thursday, May 27, 2004

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Well, if I do have mitral valve prolapse, it certainly explains a lot of questions that I've had about myself. Here's what I've found:

"Mitral valve is one of the valves of the heart, whose function is to keep the blood flowing in one direction through the left side of the heart, and to prevent backflow of blood when the heart contracts. When the heart contracts, the two leaves billow up to close off the opening between the upper atrium and the lower ventricle on the left side of the heart. "Prolapse" means that the two leaves are a little loose, a little floppy, so that the valve doesn't close as firmly as it might. It may close with a faint click, or may permit a tiny amount of blood to leak through, producing a heart murmur."

and the interesting part:

"Curiously, most of the abnormalities seem related to an underlying instability of the autonomic nervous system. People with mitral valve prolapse seem somehow to be wired differently. Their autonomic response can be much more volatile and unstable, as if set on hair-trigger, so that normal stresses and surprises set off an exaggerated response, flooding their systems with stress hormones. This leaves them alternately innervated and exhausted--"wired but tired" is a common feeling.

If the sympathetic nervous system of a person with MVP is aroused, they can suddenly feel crushing chest pain, with heartbeat racing and pounding. There can be sensations of burning chest pain, a feeling of doom or detachment, a fear of dying, or a desire to flee. Depression and anxiety often accompany MVP.

Women are far more likely than men to be diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, and oddly, there is even a typical body type. The typical profile is a slender young female with long, tapering fingers and a model's figure. [Note: I'm not implying that I have a model's figure.]"

I know that you guys don't really care about this stuff, but I feel like I am getting enlightened suddenly.


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