Aortic stenosis is like many chronic health conditions — it develops for years without causing symptoms. Then by the time you experience symptoms, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it or stop it from worsening.
That’s why our team at Advanced Cardiovascular Care encourages you to take care of your health and take steps to eliminate the problems that increase your risk of aortic stenosis.
We’re here to support you by creating preventive health plans that help you avoid all types of cardiovascular disease, including aortic stenosis.
A valve in your heart called the aortic valve controls the flow of blood as it leaves your heart and enters the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery, and it’s responsible for sending oxygenated blood out to your entire body.
Every time your heart beats, the valve opens to let blood flow into the aorta, then it closes to prevent blood from going backward.
Aortic stenosis occurs when the valve narrows, preventing it from opening all the way. As a result, blood flow into the aorta is blocked or reduced, and your heart must work harder than normal to pump enough blood to your body. Eventually, your overworked heart weakens, which leads to heart failure.
Although some people are born with aortic stenosis, and in rare cases, it’s caused by rheumatic fever, it most often develops due to changes that occur over time.
As you get older, the aortic valve goes through a disease process that’s similar to atherosclerosis: Lipids like cholesterol accumulate, inflammation develops, and calcium collects in the area.
Stenosis (narrowing of the valve) occurs as the soft tissues of the valve become calcified. The condition slowly worsens until the valve opening narrows enough to cause symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fainting, and fatigue.
Preventing aortic stenosis is an area actively being studied, but we know that specific health problems increase your risk for aortic valve narrowing. Eliminating your risk factors influences the health of your aortic valve.
Since aortic stenosis develops over decades, you’ll need to follow lifelong habits that protect your overall health and prevent chronic diseases, especially those that contribute to aortic stenosis.
Here are some tips we recommend to maintain the health of your aortic valve:
High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk of aortic stenosis. In fact, of all the known risk factors, it has the most significant influence.
It’s also estimated that 40% of patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis have hypertension, which increases the amount of stress on your heart as it works to pump blood. Additional stress may speed up the progression of aortic stenosis and its complications, such as heart failure.
We can help lower your blood pressure by working with you to create a lifestyle plan that includes:
If your blood pressure is too high or doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes, we’ll prescribe medications to keep it within a normal range.
High cholesterol and high blood levels of triglycerides boost your chance of developing aortic stenosis. This is another chronic health condition that responds well to lifestyle changes and medications.
Smoking has a big influence of the development of atherosclerosis in your coronary arteries; it’s also closely associated with a higher risk of aortic stenosis. We’ll help you find a smoking cessation program or prescribe medications that reduce cravings and diminish symptoms caused by nicotine withdrawal.
Diabetes contributes to aortic stenosis and may hasten its progression. We believe that it affects your heart valve by triggering inflammation and promoting calcium accumulation.
When you have any concerns about how to keep your heart healthy, you can count on our experience to create a customized treatment plan that addresses all of your risk factors. Contact our office in Riverside, California, by phone, or click the button on this website.