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Aortic Stenosis Symptoms

Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve becomes narrow. There are various factors that lead to this problem. If the aortic valve continues to become narrow, the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the arteries is hampered and heart problems can occur. The symptoms of aortic stenosis vary according to the extent of narrowing of the aortic valve. In mild aortic stenosis, symptoms may not be experienced at all.
When the aortic valve narrows considerably and there is more than 50 percent reduction in the valve area, there is elevated pressure in the left ventricle. As the resistance of the narrowed valve keeps increasing, the left ventricle muscles become thick so that they can continue pumping and manage the blood flow. This thickening of the muscles leads to stiffness in the heart muscle. As the pressure rises, the blood may also enter the lungs and this could lead to difficulties in breathing. In severe aortic stenosis, symptoms may include dizziness and fainting as adequate blood may not reach the brain and body. Some of the major aortic stenosis signs and symptoms also include chest pain, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. In rare cases, the first symptom of the condition is sudden death which may be due to abnormalities in heart rhythm. Aortic stenosis symptoms in children and infants include becoming tired very easily and severe breathing trouble which develops in a matter of some days or weeks. Mild cases of aortic stenosis in children may worsen as they grow older. They also face the risk of developing bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the heart. The condition is known to occur more commonly in men. Aortic stenosis symptoms in women are similar to those that occur in men.

Abdominal aortic stenosis occurs when the aorta becomes narrow in the abdomen. Abdominal aortic stenosis symptoms include renal insufficiency, mesenteric ischemia which results in abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss, and muscle pain and cramps.
Some people have what is called bicuspid aortic stenosis where the valve has only two flaps which regulate blood flow. Normally, aortic valves have three such flaps. Bicuspid aortic stenosis signs include heart palpitations, chest pain, constant fatigue and swollen ankles.

Aortic Stenosis Causes

What causes aortic stenosis? There are three conditions which are known to result in aortic stenosis in adults. The causes of aortic stenosis in children may be the same as their adult counterparts. These include continuous wear and tear of a congenital bicuspid valve, deterioration of the aortic valve in elderly persons and scarring of the valve. The scarring may be a result of rheumatic fever during childhood. A bicuspid valve is one of the most common aortic stenosis causes in people below the age of 65 years. Calcific aortic stenosis signs may be seen in individuals aged 65 years and above. Calcium deposits occur on the valve flaps or leaflets due to the process of ageing. Due to the calcification, there is increased pressure in the valve and this leads to thickening and scarring. However, the actual causes of congenital aortic stenosis are not known.

Aortic Stenosis Treatment

The doctor makes a diagnosis of aortic stenosis when a murmur is heard through the stethoscope. Aortic stenosis sounds may also be heard as a faint clicking noise or any other abnormal sound. The pulse may also be faint. Children with the condition may experience tiredness and excessive sweating. They may also have pale skin and may be smaller for their age.  In the diagnosis of aortic stenosis, certain tests are performed such as chest x-ray, ECG, heart MRI, Doppler echocardiography and stress testing.

In case of mild aortic stenosis, treatment is not always necessary. Those with moderate aortic stenosis are advised to restrict activity and avoid strenuous movements. Since aortic stenosis tends to progress in time, individuals should undergo annual examinations so that the disease can be monitored. One of the complications of severe aortic stenosis is valve infection and hence before any procedure such as dental work or gynecologic exams, patients must be given antibiotics to prevent the entry of bacteria in the blood. Aortic stenosis prognosis in those without valve replacement surgery tends to be poor when symptoms such as breathing trouble and chest pain appear. Aortic stenosis treatment options also include diuretics which help to reduce pressure in the lungs and get rid of fluid. Once a diagnosis of severe aortic stenosis is made, valve replacement is recommended in most cases. Surgery to repair the valve may also be recommended in some cases. In children, a procedure known as balloon valvuoplasty may be done where a balloon is inserted into an artery in the groin region. It is then extended to the heart, across the valve and then inflated. This helps to ease obstruction in the narrowed valve.

Indian gooseberry is known to be an aortic stenosis natural cure. It is believed to enable the body to heal naturally. Indian gooseberry helps in valve disorders and helps to filter and purify the blood. When used regularly, it helps to regulate the imbalance in the valves over a period of time. Such aortic stenosis remedies should not be seen as a substitute to medical treatment. It is necessary to first undergo a thorough examination so that the doctor can determine the cause and extent of the condition. This will then pave the way for appropriate treatment. Those who wish to explore alternative therapies for aortic stenosis should first discuss it with their doctors.

There are some ways by which aortic stenosis can be prevented. Protection from rheumatic fever is essential and this can be done by seeking treatment when you have a sore throat. Rheumatic fever can develop from strep throat if treatment is not administered. There are some risk factors which make a person vulnerable to coronary artery disease and these must be addressed early. Obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol can all increase the chances of aortic stenosis. Therefore it is essential to maintain healthy weight and take steps to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Women with aortic valve stenosis who wish to become pregnant should consult a doctor.

Submitted on January 16, 2014