Aortic stenosis (AS) is one of the most common types of heart valve disease, affecting millions in the US alone. It’s especially common in people 65 and older and affects 1 in 8 people over 75. So, what exactly happens with AS?
AS is the hardening of the aortic valve over time, causing the valve to tighten. This narrowing of the valve makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. AS can vary in severity and gets worse over time. Don’t wait to talk to your doctor and understand your risk.
There’s no way to prevent aortic stenosis (AS), so it’s important to recognize the often subtle symptoms in yourself or a loved one. Don’t mistake them as just a part of getting older. Remember, symptoms are your heart’s way of telling you something is wrong.
Lightheaded, faint, or dizzy feelings
Irregular heartbeat, heart flutter, or chest pains
Shortness of breath after light activity or lying down
Tiredness, even if they've had plenty of sleep
Edema (swelling of the ankles and feet)
Not feeling like yourself (missing out on daily activities)
Sometimes you can develop aortic stenosis (AS) and not have symptoms right away. Other diseases and illness, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and COVID-19, have similar symptoms.
This is why it’s so important to ask your doctor about an echocardiogram. It’s one of the most accurate ways to tell if you or a loved one has AS.
There’s no way to prevent aortic stenosis (AS), but you can stay on top of it with routine echocardiograms and different treatment options. Together, you and your doctor will discuss the best treatment option for you. It’s important you receive treatment as soon as possible since AS gets worse over time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with severe AS, your doctor may recommend a transcatheter procedure. It’s a less invasive way to repair or replace your valve using a small tube, typically inserted in your leg, instead of an incision across your chest.
Your doctor may recommend open heart surgery, which requires an incision to get to your valve and replace it. The incision is usually the full length of your chest, but sometimes it can be smaller. Once the incision is made, your old valve is removed and a replacement is surgically inserted.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mild or moderate AS, your doctor may suggest monitoring your condition with regular follow-ups. Make sure to let your doctor know if your symptoms get worse or change and remember to get an echocardiogram regularly since AS gets worse over time.