Your heart has four valves that open and shut like doors to help pump blood throughout your body. One of the four valves is called the aortic valve. The tissue of the aortic valve’s leaflets can become stiff (due to a build-up of calcium), which causes the opening of the valve to become smaller and prevent it from opening and shutting properly. This condition is called aortic stenosis, and it affects 2.5 million people over the age of 75 in the United States.
As the opening becomes smaller, it makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, which can affect your health. Aortic stenosis is a progressive disease, meaning that the valve will get narrower and narrower, worsening over time. Slowly but surely this narrowing and increase of pressure will lead to additional cardiac problems.
Doctors will typically categorize cases of aortic stenosis as mild, moderate, or severe. The stage of aortic stenosis depends on how damaged your aortic valve is.
Disease progression in aortic stenosis