Aortic Stenosis Campaign Targeting Seniors Launched
by Alliance for Aging Research
life-threatening disease is becoming a much greater burden as more and
more in the U.S. are reaching the dangerous age of 70 and older - see
video, take quiz
12, 2014 - A new campaign from the Alliance for Aging
Research aims to raise awareness about the effects of aortic stenosis, a
disease caused by the gradual buildup of calcium deposits in the aortic
valve. Aortic stenosis mainly affects older people, according to the
American Heart Association; usually beginning after age 60, but often
does not show symptoms until ages70 or even 80.
“People of all ages suffer from aortic stenosis,
but this condition is even more prevalent in Americans over 75,” says
Lindsay Clarke, vice president of Health Programs for the Alliance.
“The symptoms of aortic stenosis are often
improperly dismissed as a normal part of aging, and older adults are
often made to believe that they are not good candidates for surgery.”
It affects more than 1.5 million Americans and the
number is climbing rapidly with the steady increase in longevity. If
left untreated, aortic stenosis can lead to fainting, chest pain,
fatigue and, in worst case scenarios, death.
Aortic Stenosis: A Heart Valve Disease
Aortic stenosis is a type of heart disease where
the main outlet for blood to be pumped to the body—the aortic
valve—becomes narrowed over time. It's more common with age and if left
untreated, can lead to significantly decreased quality of life, heart
failure, and even death. Fortunately, aortic stenosis (AS) can usually
be treated with valve replacement in patients of all ages.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AS,
or may be experiencing its symptoms, talk with a health care
professional about the disease and treatment options, and learn more
through the resources below.
Older age is the major risk factor for heart valve
disease. As you age, your heart valves thicken and become stiffer.
People who have a history of
infective endocarditis (IE), rheumatic fever,
heart attack, or
heart failure—or previous heart valve disease—also are at higher
risk for heart valve disease. In addition, having risk factors for IE,
such as intravenous drug use, increases the risk of heart valve disease.
Some people are born with an aortic valve that has
two flaps instead of three. Sometimes an aortic valve may have three
flaps, but two flaps are fused together and act as one flap. This is
called a bicuspid or bicommissural aortic valve. People who have this
congenital condition are more likely to develop aortic heart valve
interactive, multimedia campaign by the Alliance features videos,
quizzes, podcasts and other resources. Its main goals are to educate
about the seriousness of aortic stenosis and offer insights on how it is
treated, with an added emphasis on its impact on older Americans.
Resources for the campaign include:
This short "pocket film" gives a quick look at
aortic stenosis—what it means to have the disease, how it's not
a normal part of aging, what the latest treatment options are
(including TAVR—the latest in valve replacement), and how people
of all ages can be good candidates for replacement.
short “pocket film” that takes a comprehensive look at aortic
stenosis, with a focus on older adults
· >A guide for health care professionals, including
highlights from the American Heart Association/American College of
Cardiology 2014 guidelines on valve disease
· >Videos and podcasts from experts offering insights into
figures and helpful information shared through the Alliance’s Twitter
@aging_research using #stenosisawareness
Educational Quizzes Part of Campaign
Are You at Risk?
Take this quiz to find out if you're at risk for aortic stenosis,
plus learn more about the disease and how it's treated. You can also
print a copy of your results and find additional helpful information
once you're done with the quiz. If you think you may be at risk, take
the printed copy to your next health care professional visit and start
an important conversation about your heart health.
After Your Diagnosis
If you've been diagnosed with aortic stenosis,
take this quiz to learn more about the disease and its treatment.
When you're done, print out your answers and take them to your next
health care professional visit to help start a conversation about you
and your aortic stenosis.
About the Alliance for
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization
dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their
application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of
aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C.,
and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected
influential voice with policymakers. Visit
agingresearch.org for more information.
More About Heart
Your heart has four valves.
Normally, these valves open to let blood flow through or out of your
heart, and then shut to keep it from flowing backward. But sometimes
they don't work properly. If they don't, you could have
• Regurgitation - when blood
leaks back through the valve in the wrong direction
• Mitral valve prolapse - when
one of the valves, the mitral valve, has "floppy" flaps and doesn't
close tightly. It's one of the most common heart valve conditions.
Sometimes it causes regurgitation.
• Stenosis - when the valve
doesn't open enough and blocks blood flow
Valve problems can be present at
birth or caused by infections, heart attacks, or heart disease or
damage. The main sign of heart valve disease is an unusual heartbeat
sound called a heart murmur. Your doctor can hear a heart murmur with a
stethoscope. But many people have heart murmurs without having a
problem. Heart tests can show if you have a heart valve disease. Some
valve problems are minor and do not need treatment. Others might require
medicine, medical procedures, or surgery to repair or replace the valve.