12 things in your home that Lead to Heart Disease

Cardiologist’s Guide to Valvular Heart Disease

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Valvular Heart Disease

The heart’s design is complex, and its function is vital to life. Each heartbeat sends life-giving blood throughout the body, with the heart valves playing a crucial role. They guide the blood’s path, much like riverbanks guide the course of water. When these valves falter, like a river overflowing its banks, the balance of life is put at risk.

Millions of people live with malfunctioning valves, commonly known as valvular heart disease. The economic burden is colossal, with hundreds of thousands of new diagnoses yearly. However, the personal cost can be far more devastating.

Understanding heart valves 

Think of your heart as a house divided into two floors with two rooms on each level. The two rooms on the top floor are known as the atria, responsible for receiving blood. On the bottom floor, you find the ventricles, the chambers tasked with sending blood out to the body. Together, these four chambers form the core structure of the heart. 

Each of these rooms is separated by thin layers of tissue called valves. Like doors that open and close, these one-way valves help regulate blood flow through the heart, ensuring it moves in the right direction. The heart has a total of four valves: 

  1. Tricuspid Valve: Acting as a vigilant gatekeeper within the heart, the tricuspid valve stands between the right atrium and right ventricle. Its vital function is to guide blood flow in a single direction, diligently preventing any backflow. 
  1. Pulmonary Valve: The pulmonary valve is the vital connector between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery and controls the passage of oxygen-depleted blood into the lungs.
  1. Mitral Valve: Positioned strategically between the left atrium and left ventricle, the mitral valve manages the flow of oxygen-rich blood, ensuring it’s efficiently delivered to the body while maintaining equilibrium.
  1. Aortic Valve: Positioned between the left ventricle and the aorta, the aortic valve holds a crucial role in heart function. This valve carefully controls the outflow of oxygen-rich blood into the body’s main artery, the aorta. By ensuring a one-way flow, it plays an essential part in nourishing the body.

What is heart valve disease? 

Heart valve disease encompasses a range of conditions impacting the operation of one or more of the heart’s valves. At the heart of these disorders is the incorrect opening or closing of these essential gates, giving rise to challenges in blood circulation, which sustains life. This malfunction typically manifests in two ways:

· Valvular stenosis

Imagine trying to pass through a door that’s barely ajar. That’s the predicament the blood finds itself in during valvular stenosis. The valves become narrow or stiff, obstructing the flow of life-giving, oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body.

· Valvular insufficiency

Referred to by various names such as regurgitation, prolapse, or the colloquial ‘leaky valve,’ this condition occurs when a heart valve fails to close tightly. Consequently, blood seeps backward into the heart, placing an undue burden on this vital organ. The heart must then labor more strenuously to pump the same volume of blood, a situation that can lead to further complications if left unaddressed.

Common types of heart valve disease

Heart valve disease manifests in a variety of ways. Some of the most common forms of heart valve disease include: 

· Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis arises when the aortic valve narrows, restricting the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the heart into the aorta and the rest of the body. It can cause the heart to work harder, leading to fatigue and other symptoms. It’s commonly observed in an aging population but may also be congenital from a bicuspid aortic valve. 

· Mitral Regurgitation

Unlike the stenoses, the mitral valve doesn’t close evenly with this condition, causing a part of it to prolapse into the left atrium. Though often mild and requiring little to no intervention, it sometimes demands medical attention to prevent complications from moderate or severe mitral regurgitation.

· Aortic Regurgitation

In this situation, the aortic valve does not close appropriately, thus leading to regurgitation or leakage of blood from the aorta back to the left ventricle. Untreated, the left ventricle can start to enlarge and eventually develop congestive heart failure. 

Symptoms of valve disease

The resultant aberrant blood flow often sounds an alarm in the form of a heart murmur. Still, valve disease is a chameleon, often taking on the guise of aging or everyday fatigue, making its detection a challenge. Common symptoms may include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet, or abdomen
  • Abnormal blood pressure

Causes of heart valve problems

The causes of heart valve disease are multifactorial and can range from congenital defects to age-related changes. Hypertension, atherosclerosis, infectious diseases, and certain autoimmune conditions also increase the risk of valve disease. However, the lurking culprit is often our own lifestyle.

The fact remains – we’ve departed from the ancestral ways that nurtured our heart health. We’ve replaced nutrient-rich whole foods with processed ones, moved less, stressed more, and turned our backs on nature’s therapeutic gifts.

To counter this, we must retrace our steps towards our roots. We can fortify our heart health by embracing holistic lifestyle modifications – a balanced, organic diet, regular exercise, stress management, and restorative sleep

Evidence-based natural supplements like The Whole Fish, Magne5, and Cardio CoQ10 have shown promise in supporting heart health and can be valuable additions to our wellness routines.

Next Steps

Receiving a diagnosis of heart valve disease can be a sobering experience. It often comes with a realization that lifelong medication or even surgery may be necessary to repair the affected valve. While these interventions might be needed for some, it’s essential to note that they only apply to a minority of cases.

Preparing your heart and overall health before these interventions is the most thoughtful approach. Achieving optimal well-being before a procedure can significantly enhance your chances of a successful outcome. It’s not merely about treating the symptoms but engaging with your body’s inherent ability to heal and thrive.

If you face heart valve issues, we’re here to support you. A free 20-minute consultation with one of our expert health coaches could be your first step toward understanding and managing your condition, all aligned with the principles of whole-body wellness and individual empowerment.


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He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.