Aortic stenosis and its effects on your heart health
The aortic valve has three flaps that open while the heart is pumping. The flaps open to let blood flow out and then close to keep blood from flowing back in. As we age, calcium can build up on those flaps, which can cause them to not open or close fully and can lead to aortic stenosis.
Aortic stenosis is a serious condition that occurs when the opening in your heart’s aortic valve narrows and stiffens, making your heart work harder to pump blood and decreasing vital flow of blood to your body. This means your body and brain don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. If left untreated, excess fluid can start to back up up into your lungs and your heart gets weaker.
Here’s more you should know:
Do you have symptoms of aortic stenosis?
The disease often presents no symptoms until it has progressed to a more serious stage. And even severe aortic stenosis may only cause mild symptoms, which can include:
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Problems after physical exertion, such as tiredness, dizziness, fainting and/or chest pain
- Heart failure
Are you at risk of developing aortic stenosis?
You are more likely to develop aortic stenosis if you:
- Are male
- Are over 30 years of age
- Have a family history of heart valve disease
- Have high blood pressure
- Have high cholesterol
- Have diabetes
- Have had rheumatic fever
Some people are born with only two flaps instead of three, which can cause aortic stenosis to occur at a younger age.
How is aortic stenosis diagnosed?
- Risk factors
- Physical exam
Your doctor will listen to your heart for abnormal sounds and an echocardiogram can show what’s happening inside your heart.
Are there treatments for aortic stenosis?
- Mild aortic stenosis — your doctor may just monitor your condition closely
- Worsening aortic stenosis – your activities may be restricted and you may need to take medications that increase blood flow from your heart
- Severe aortic stenosis — you may need surgery to replace the faulty valve
Get more information about the disease and the surgery by calling us at:
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at FreeDigitalPhotos.net