In most elderly adults, aortic stenosis is caused by a build-up of calcium (a mineral found in your blood) on the valve leaflets. Over time, this causes the leaflets to become stiff, reducing their ability to fully open and close.
A normal aortic valve contains three leaflets. But sometimes people are born with an aortic valve that has one, two, or four leaflets. When defects are present, the aortic valve may leak and this can cause valve problems.
Sometimes strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever which can cause scar tissue to form within the heart. When this happens, the aortic valve may not be able to open and close as it normally should.
Some people may develop inflammation and scar tissue after receiving radiation therapy. This can make the aortic valve stiff and unable to function properly.
U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 2015.
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