1. What is the Aorta?
The aorta, the biggest artery of the body, is the most important part of your heart, which is responsible for circulating blood from your heart to your body. Due to its size (it’s 30,5 cm long and 2,5cm in diameter) makes it the most effective vessel for its function.
The aorta has three layers, namely:
- The inner layer or intima, which is responsible for the smooth flow of blood to all body parts.
- The middle layer or media is responsible for expansion and contraction as needed during a heartbeat because of its elastic fibers and muscles.
- The outer layer or adventitia is responsible for providing additional support for the aorta.
It’s also divided into four parts, which include:
1.1 Ascending Aorta
This section of the aorta rises from the heart and is about 5cm long. Coronary arteries branching from the ascending aorta are responsible for supplying blood to the heart.
1.2 Aortic Curve
Responsible for bringing blood to the head, neck, and arms, the aortic curve ‘curves’ around the heart with its branches; hence the name.
1.3 Descending Thoracic Aorta
The descending thoracic aorta travels down to the chest and supplies blood to ribs and chest structures.
1.4 Abdominal Aorta
Starting at the diaphragm and splitting into iliac arteries in the lower abdomen, the abdominal aorta is responsible for most of the blood circulation to your body.
Circulation takes place when the heart pumps blood to the aorta from its left ventricle through the aortic valve. A one-way flow of blood is ensured with three tissue flaps that are covering the valve. Simultaneously closing when the blood is pumped in the aorta from the left ventricle, these flaps ensure blood doesn’t recline. Then it’s transferred to the respective aortas for circulation.
2. Aorta Diseases
Some of the most common diseases of the aorta include:
2.1 Aortic Aneurysm
The aortic aneurysm is the weakening or bulging of the aorta that can occur anywhere in the structure of this main artery. You could face different problems resulting from an aortic aneurysm, including:
- Rupture at the weakened or bulged area, which can cause rupture, resulting in leakage of blood in the body
- Dissection in the walls resulting in leakage and accumulation of blood in the body parts
The condition is caused by Atherosclerosis, known to form plaque in the arteries as a result of poor diet, smoking, etc. The rupturing takes place because of high blood pressure causing the bulged area to explode.
2.2 Aortic Dissection
An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body’s main artery (aorta). Blood rushes through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to split (dissect). If the blood goes through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often deadly. Chest trauma, hypertension, etc. are some of the primary causes of aortic dissection.
2.3 Aortic Valve Disease
Aortic valve disease is a type of heart valve disease. In aortic valve disease, the valve between the lower left heart chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery to the body (aorta) doesn’t work properly. The aortic valve helps keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart. Aortic valve disease may be caused by a heart defect present at birth (congenital heart defect).
Other causes of aortic valve disease later in life include:
- Age-related changes to the heart
- High blood pressure
- Injury to the heart
Potential complications of aortic valve disease may include:
- Blood clots
- Heart failure
- Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias)
- Death due to sudden cardiac arrest
Aortic diseases are treated mainly in two ways:
In case the situation has become severe with the bulged area close to rupturing or has already ruptured, doctors recommend surgery to ensure that treatment is done on time.
Although medication won’t be helping in case of an emergency, it still helps to keep the blood pressure low. However, you need to consult your doctors at the aortic valve treatment centre in Dubai, considering the situation of your aorta.
4. Is prevention possible?
To prevent an aortic aneurysm or keep an aortic aneurysm from worsening, do the following:
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about medications and therapies that may help.
- Eat a healthy diet. Focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid saturated and trans fats and limit salt.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. If your doctor has prescribed medications, take them as instructed.
- Get regular exercise. Try to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. If you haven’t been active, start slowly and build up. Talk to your doctor about what kinds of activities are right for you.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information on the topic.