Get to know degenerative valvular heart disease

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Degeneration of heart valve is typically caused by lipid deposition or calcified nodule formation. Calcium buildup on the valve causes the accumulation of calcium and results in stiffening of the cusps (leaflets) of the valve. This stiffening narrows the aortic valve. As a result, aortic valve becomes more stiff and less flexible with impaired functions of closing and opening. In some cases, if calcium nodules have been formed on the jagged-edge of the valve, it eventually leads to opening failure of the valve which affects the amount of blood supply to the heart. When the blood flow through the aortic valve is reduced or blocked, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood to the entire body while heart wall becomes thicker. Eventually, this extra work limits the amount of blood it can pump, it weakens heart muscle. If it is left untreated, it might cause life-threatening conditions such as acute heart failure.

Degenerative valvular heart disease, particularly “aortic valve stenosis” is serious condition. The aortic valve is located between the lower left heart chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery that delivers blood from the heart to the body (aorta).This heart valve regulates blood flowing in the correct direction. Aortic valve closes off left ventricle that holds the oxygen-rich blood before it is pumped out to the body and opens to allow blood to leave the heart (from the left ventricle to the aorta and on to the body). In aortic valve stenosis, the aortic valve is narrowed , thus the left ventricle has to work harder to pump a sufficient amount of blood into the aorta and onward to the rest of the body. This causes the left ventricle to thicken and enlarge. Eventually the extra work of the heart can significantly lead to heart failure and other heart problems. Aortic valve disease is common in elderly patients, equally in both male and female,  with a prevalence of nearly 3% in patients aged 80 years or older. However, with reference to statistical data, male tends to develop this disease approximately 60% while 40% has been presented in female.

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