Aortic stenosis, also known as aortic valve stenosis, is caused by a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve controls the flow of oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body, and aortic stenosis is one of the most serious and most common diseases of the heart valves.
Causes of Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a condition that can be present from birth, can result from aging, or, in some cases is caused by rheumatic fever. When the aortic valve is narrowed, it causes the heart to work much harder. This increased effort causes the heart muscle to thicken and reduces the size of the aortic valve’s opening, which further weakens the valve.
Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis
Some people with aortic stenosis don’t have noticeable symptoms until the problem worsens due to restricted blood flow. However, some obvious symptoms of aortic stenosis include:
- Chest pain or tightness
A decline in regular activity is also a symptom of aortic stenosis. It’s important to talk with your doctor if you experience any of these issues.
Depending on the severity of the disease, various options may be considered for treating aortic stenosis. If a patient has limited or mild symptoms, a doctor might recommend monitoring and follow-up as needed. In some cases, regardless of symptoms, a doctor might recommend a valve repair or valve replacement.
In all cases of aortic stenosis, a person should have an echocardiogram in order to determine which treatment option is best for them. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are important behaviors for ensuring optimal heart health.