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Your Heart, how it functions and what leads to aortic valve stenosis

aortic valve stenosis
aortic valve stenosis
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Rheumatic fever

Rheumatic fever is a complication of strep throat and cause aortic stenosis. Again it causes narrowing of the aortic valve because of scar tissue. It can affect any of the heart valves. Though Rheumatic fever is rare it does affect some older people in the USA.

The function of your heart

Your heart is central the body’s circulatory systems. It is composed of four chambers. The upper chambers are called the atria and they receive blood. The lower chambers called the ventricles pump out the blood.

The cycle of blood distribution starts when the blood enters the right upper chamber and then continues down to the lower chamber right chamber where it pumps blood into the lungs to be oxygenated. The cycle starts all over again when the blood in the lungs returns to the heat only this time through the left chamber and then down again to the left lower chamber. You get your heartbeat from the pumping on the left side of the lower ventricle. The left lower ventricle is the heart pump. The left ventricle will then force the blood through to the aortic valve which is the largest artery in the body.

Since there are four heart chambers there are four heart valves: Tricuspid valve, pulmonary valve, mitral valve, aortic valve.

The aortic valve has four flaps called leaflets which are tissues which connect to the aorta by a ring called an annulus. These flaps open when the blood comes through from the left ventricle, they then close up again after the blood has passed through so that no blood returns to the valve.

When the aortic valve is defective stops the blood from flowing properly. This happens when the leaflets don’t open or close properly allowing some blood to regurgitate back into the aortic valve. When the aortic valve is too narrow it is called stenosis.

Risk factors for aortic valve stenosis

For starters you cannot prevent aortic valve stenosis. But there are different situations which can cause it. Some people are born with a defective aortic valve due to bicuspid aortic valve. The bicuspid aortic valve only has two leaflets instead of three. Some people develop later in life when they have this problem. bicuspid aortic valve often runs in families so it is good to know your family medical history.

Age

Age is a factor for aortic valve stenosis. As we age sometimes there is calcium buildup which causes the aortic valve to narrow.

Rheumatic fever

If you previously had rheumatic fever you can develop aortic valve stenosis since your leaflets will stiffen and fuse.

Risk factors

There may be a link with aortic valve stenosis and diabetes, such as high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.