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Aortic Valve Stenosis

Avoid aortic valve disease

Aortic valve stenosis is a serious heart disease in which the opening of the aortic valve is narrowed, causing a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle. The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle and the aorta, and carries the most amount of blood to the heart. Aortic valve disease is caused by age-related calcification of the aortic valve, which can be heightened by diabetes, an unhealthy lifestyle, or rapid weight gain.

Symptoms of aortic valve stenosis

Symptoms of this disease include shortness of breath, hypertension, chest pain and heart failure. While symptoms do not always show up in people with mild forms of this disease, they can be a sign that something is wrong. Normally, people with severe aortic stenosis will present with these symptoms, and other complications such as congestive heart failure, fainting spells, and angina.

How aortic valve disease is diagnosed and treated

If your doctor suspects that you have aortic valve stenosis, he or she will perform several tests to determine whether or not you have the disease and how to treat it. Checking blood pressure and the sound of your pulse will be your doctor's first examination; how these two signs present will normally be the first indicators of this disease. A heart murmur, or slight hesitation between heart beats, is often one of the first signs of aortic stenosis. Your doctor will follow up with an echocardiogram, or an ECG, to view your heart and may also order a chest X-ray. From there, he or she will diagnose you and begin treatment.

Treatment for aortic valve stenosis includes regular ECGs to keep an eye on the narrowing of the valve; however, in adults and severe cases, aortic valve replacement is required to lessen the effects of disease and prevent death from heart attack. Aortic valve surgery involves replacing the valve entirely with a synthetic or animal valve, or aortic valve repair, to clear out any calcification through medication or balloon valvuloplasty, which inflates the valve and causes it to expand.

Aortic valve stenosis can be a scary diagnosis, but with the proper treatment, it can be a disease that can be easily treated.

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