THEY NATURALLY WEAR DOWN
With all that opening and closing, they’re bound to see wear and tear eventually. ‘As people get older, it’s not unusual to see a thickening of the heart valves or a bit of an accumulation of calcium on them on a heart ultrasound,’ says Dr. Klodas.
A potentially life-threatening condition is called aortic stenosis, a severe thickening that begins to interfere with blood flow out of the heart. ‘Untreated, this has a worse outcome than metastatic cancer,’ she says. A heart valve replacement is one possible treatment.