Sometimes calcium accumulates on the aortic valve, and the valve thickens. But the thickening does not interfere with blood flow through the valve. This disorder is called aortic sclerosis. About 1 out of 4 people over 65 have this disorder.
Aortic sclerosis does not cause symptoms. It may cause a soft heart murmur, heard by a doctor through a stethoscope. Aortic sclerosis may not make a person feel any different, but it increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death. Consequently, identifying and eliminating or controlling risk factors for atherosclerosis are important for people with aortic sclerosis. These risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and diabetes.