What causes heart murmurs in adults?

The most common cause of heart murmurs in adults is any condition that affects the heart valves. Heart murmurs can also be caused by hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, strenuous physical activity, fever, and anemia. Any alteration in the structure of the heart, including heart surgery, infection, or aging, can also be a trigger. There are two types of heart murmurs, innocent and abnormal. Some of the specific diseases that cause abnormal heart murmurs include mitral valve prolapse, valvular calcification, endocarditis, and rheumatic fever.

Abnormal heart murmurs are the most common variety experienced by adults, although it is possible to have an innocent heart murmur at any age. Innocent murmurs can arise from any condition that provides increased blood flow to the heart, such as pregnancy or anemia. One of the most common ways an adult can have an innocent heart murmur is from mitral valve prolapse. This minor heart condition can be detected at birth or occur later in life. It contributes to heart murmurs due to a bulging mitral valve that retracts slightly into the left atrium and allows a small amount of blood to leak back into the heart chamber.

Most abnormal heart murmurs in adults arise from heart valve disease, which is usually caused by another condition. Heart murmurs can also be caused by any incident that puts pressure on the valves. They can develop due to a heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, or as a result of fatty buildup in the arteries.

Changes in the heart due to aging are another common cause. Valve calcification, a process by which substances such as calcium are deposited on the heart valves, is a typical condition of aging. These deposits cause stress on the cardiovascular system and change blood flow, resulting in a heart murmur.

Conditions outside the heart can also contribute to abnormal heart murmurs in adults. Germs in the blood can cause infections, such as endocarditis, that travel to the heart and cause murmurs. Rheumatic fever causes scarring of the heart valves that may not affect blood flow until years after recovery from the disease. Hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure are also causes of heart murmurs. Strenuous physical activity can also increase blood flow to such an extent that it triggers the condition.

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