Many of you are wondering: What is a heart murmur?
That's a great question.
A heart murmur is basically the sound of blood rushing through your heart or from your heart to the rest of the body. Usually, when we listen to your heart, we can hear the sound of the valves (like gates) in your heart opening and closing to allow blood flow between the chambers of your heart and between your heart and the rest of the body... but we don't usually hear the flow of the blood itself.
When we hear the flow of the blood itself as the blood rushes through your heart or from your heart to the rest of the body, that is typical of at least a few different kinds of scenarios.
One scenario is anemia. When your blood counts are low (usually your red blood cell counts would be low in anemia), your heart does more work to get more blood flowing to the rest of your body to counteract or overcome this. Your red blood cells carry oxygen to your tissues throughout your body, including your brain, and including your heart itself. When your red blood cell counts are low, your heart works harder to get more blood flow to the rest of your body, including your brain, and to your heart itself so that enough oxygen can be delivered. Your body thrives on oxygen. Your brain and your heart thrive on oxygen. Blood brings oxygen. More blood flow rushing through the heart valves (like gates) to get more blood to the rest of your body can sometimes be audible, more audible than usual. This can be heard as a heart murmur.
Another scenario, is in pregnancy, when the mother's heart pumps blood rushing through the heart to get to the rest of the body to nourish the mother and the baby growing inside her.
Another scenario is when heart valves (like gates) are narrower or more floppy or leaky than they should be. Sometimes they don't quite have as much space for the blood to go through, or sometimes they don't quite close the way they are supposed to. Any of these situations can cause a heart murmur.
Reach out to your primary care provider and/or cardiologist today to learn more about heart health and follow up on your heart murmur and make sure yours is under control and managed well.
We are always also here to help at My Heart Risk in Cancer. Reach out today.