Aortic stenosis refers to a narrowing of the aortic valve. This valve acts like a one-way gate between the heart's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, and the aorta, the main pipeline through which oxygenated blood is distributed to the body. In some people, calcium accumulates in the valve, gradually thickening and stiffening the leaflets, the working part of the valve. This narrows the opening through which blood can pass. A murmur indicates turbulent blood flow from the force needed to push blood through the narrowed aortic valve or from blood flowing backward through a valve that can't close completely.
Aortic stenosis can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, and breathlessness.
This common condition does not correct itself. There is no evidence that any medicines or lifestyle modifications affect the progression of aortic stenosis. Some preliminary studies raised the possibility that cholesterol-lowering statins might prevent it from getting worse, but later work has pretty much dashed that possibility.
That said, mild aortic stenosis should not affect your life and should not hold you back from exercise or other daily activities. Your doctor may limit your peak activity level as the condition progresses, but that shouldn't stop you from walking or swimming or other moderate-intensity activities.
In most people with aortic stenosis, the valve opening shrinks at a steady rate. Doppler echocardiography is outstanding for following this change, so it is rare for aortic stenosis to cause severe harm before it becomes apparent an operation is needed to replace the valve.