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Difference Between Aortic Sclerosis and Aortic Stenosis

Aortic Sclerosis vs. Aortic Stenosis
There are many commonalities between aortic sclerosis and aortic stenosis that the general public may be unfamiliar with. Both occur in the heart and can be diagnosed singly or simultaneously. Both words begin with ‘aortic’, which means they are pertaining to the aorta. ‘Sclerosis’ is defined as the hardening of tissue or other anatomical functions and ‘stenosis’ is the abnormal narrowing of a blood vessel. Given just the brief meaning of the words, it is clear that aortic sclerosis and aortic stenosis are diseases of the ‘aorta’ which is the largest artery that carries blood through the body.

Aortic sclerosis is defined as the thickening of heart valves. Typically it is diagnosed through an echocardiograph or suspected when a doctor can hear a slight heart murmur when listening to a heartbeat with a stethoscope. Sclerosis is described as the leaflet thickening and increased calcification in the arterial valves of the heart. It is most prevalent among older adult patients and adult obese patients and is considered the start or may be partnered with aortic stenosis. Aortic sclerosis can lead to angina, heart failure, and stroke in those who have been diagnosed. There is no treatment or scientific way to repair the damage done to a main artery for patients who are diagnosed with aortic sclerosis.
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the arterial valve within the heart muscle. This means the heart must pump harder in order to get more blood through the narrowed passageway. It can take its toll on the heart and lead to further issues, such as heart failure. Patients find that the symptoms of aortic stenosis are actually similar to heart failure, such as weakness and shortness of breath. Aortic stenosis can occur at any age, however symptoms do not appear until later adulthood. It is onset in patients who have aortic sclerosis, rheumatic fever, or a type of congenital abnormality. Aortic stenosis is typically discovered through echocardiography or cardiac catheterization.
Unfortunately those who may be diagnosed with either aortic sclerosis or aortic stenosis are likely to face a difficult adulthood. Those who suffer from both are in drastic need of a lifestyle change or they could have heart failure or suffer a heart attack.

Summary

1. Aortic sclerosis is classified as the thickening of the heart valves and aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the arterial valves within the heart. The aorta is the largest artery in the human body.
2. Aortic sclerosis and aortic stenosis are prevalent in older adults or obese patients and it is found through echocardiograms. They can both result in heart failure or heart attack if not monitored and have no limited treatment options.
3. Patients who are diagnosed with both aortic sclerosis and aortic stenosis are at risk of death if they suffer from a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.


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3 Comments

  1. What if the 64 year old patient with this heart disease has no symptoms? What if they are 64 years old and Incredibly physically fit? It does not sound like their quality of life will improve with surgery, from what I have read. On the other hand, if they simply monitor the disease it sounds like the patient is taking a huge risk of having a heart related death. What a dilemma!

    • I am female. 51 years old. Quite fit and active. Diagnosed with aortic sclerosis with mild regurgitation (leaky heart valve) eight months ago. No symptoms. Had felt a couple of chest pains and thought to go to doctors for checkup. Only being monitored. Not instructed to do or not do anything in particular. Taking an 81mg aspirin every night along with 10mg lipitor. Been in depression ever since diagnosis. Afraid to engage in the activities I was doing before, such as running and vigorous exercise. Can’t seem to find my way out of this depression (fear). Have husband and three children.

  2. Diagnosed with same problem, diagnosed in rheumatology. Doctors did not inform me, asked for copy of scan and shocked to read sclerotic aorta. Spoke to professor Denton, stated ‘dont worry about it’ all very well for him. Should have been referred to cardiology
    NHS Doctors are a disgrace, negligence. Who prescribed the aspirin, & lipitor

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