I’ve known since I was a child that I had a heart murmur. No one ever seemed to think it was serious, and I never gave it much thought. That is, until 2004, when, because I have the murmur I had to get an echocardiogram, a non-invasive ultrasound type of test that looks at the heart, in order to get a colonoscopy, which I get every five years since I had a small polyp at age 50. So I went to a cardiologist and got the echocardiogram. When it was over, the cardio said to me, “We’ll need to have a talk.” Hummm, I thought, what now?
“You have a problem with your aortic valve,” he said. It turns out that the murmur was no real concern. What was happening was that my aortic valve was becoming calcified. The condition was mild, the cardio told me. It happens to some people when they age. It might stay the same over time, get no worse, and present no problem, or it could get progressively worse. There was no way to predict what would happen. There was nothing much to be done, it wasn’t diet related, etc. It just happens to some people as they age. “Come back in a year,” the Doc said. So I left the office with a new problem that I didn’t have when I walked in.