As we get older, the body begins to show signs of the inescapable ageing process that reflects the lifestyles and choices we have made through life. The heart is no less immune to our body’s ageing and will begin to show signs of wear after many years of seemingly uninterrupted and efficient use. However, did you know that some heart conditions will not show any noticeable symptoms until right before the issue becomes extremely serious? Or that some people, rather than develop the issue later in life, are born with this and may not notice until they get older? Both are true when it comes to Aortic Stenosis.
Due to the nature of this heart condition, it is one of the most common and serious valve disease problems experienced and those that have a congenital heart defect from birth may never experience an issue until much later in life. So, what is Aortic Stenosis and how can it be resolved if you have no symptoms until it’s much advanced?
Understanding Aortic Stenosis
Summarising a complex issue such as Aortic Stenosis can be difficult but, put simply, it is where the blood flow to the heart is restricted from the left ventricle to the aorta. It is where the aortic valve opening becomes narrow and stops the blood flowing as it would normally to the rest of the body. As you can imagine, this then causes major complications to your overall health, however as it can be gradual, a person suffering from Aortic Stenosis may not realise until the issue becomes much worse and the narrowing of the aortic valve causes irreversible damage.
Unfortunately for some, by the time they have been diagnosed with the disease, it can be too late, leading to possible premature death. If you are born with congenital aortic stenosis, the signs can show whilst you are young or not at all until much later, but it is much more common for people to develop the disease. A reason it can develop is from the build-up of calcium or even scarring, with both damaging the aortic valve. As it worsens, the heart muscle may grow larger in an attempt to force the blood flow through with more power. This can then lead to signs of an evident issue that you may have been living with for a while.
What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?
Some people may only experience mild symptoms when aortic stenosis begins, becoming more prominent the longer to develops. Monitoring the following symptoms can help discover if you have the problem:
- Fainting episodes (Syncope)
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat or flutters
- Difficulty in walking
- Swollen ankles or feet
- Difficulty sleeping
- General level of fatigue
Knowing what to do if any of the symptoms occur, however mild, can be the difference between being diagnosed early or the risk of the condition worsening. Having regular heart screenings is one way to monitor this as you’ll be able to see how far developed the Aortic Stenosis is. Here at the Keyhole Heart Clinic, in our experience, the best form of treatment for the condition is to undergo surgery.
Surgery Treatment for Aortic Stenosis
Now any treatment of surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly, but there is a very good reason why when it comes to Aortic Stenosis surgery is the best solution. With symptoms generally only showing once the problem has become advanced, any medical therapy prescribed with tablets will be ineffective in the long run. We highly recommend in the event of advanced symptoms, that replacement of the aortic valve is performed. This is because, with the narrowing of the valve already in place, replacement is the most effective way to improve your chances of a longer, healthier life.
At The Keyhole Essex Heart Clinic, we are fortunate to have some of the world’s leading heart surgeons and Cardiologists on our team to screen and perform Aortic Stenosis surgery. Not only will our keyhole methods resolve the issue, but it will provide quicker healing, improved breathing and lesser bleeding complications being experienced. If you have any concerns about Aortic Stenosis and want to find out more, please do get in touch with us. We’ll be more than happy to arrange a screening and discuss any treatment options if necessary, for your peace of mind and long-term health.