SOME 300,000 Brits are living with a stealth disease that could kill them within five years, doctors have warned.
A third of those are likely to have no idea they are affected because they do not show clear symptoms.
Aortic valve stenosis, or AS, is a heart condition that often shows no symptoms until it’s already too late.
The condition is when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, reducing or blocking blood flow from the heart into the main artery to the body (aorta).
This can cause chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, or a rapid, fluttering heartbeat in the more severe and life-threatening cases.
Some people are more prone to getting it, including those of older age, with diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart conditions from birth.
Given the ageing of the UK population, it is thought that there may be a large pool of as yet undiagnosed people.
Researchers in the UK and Australia set out to estimate how many people could be living with the condition now, and of those, how many are at risk of death.
They did this using population data and previous estimates of aortic valve stenosis prevalence.
According to their calculations, the overall prevalence of severe aortic stenosis among the over 55s in the UK in 2019 could be almost 1.5 per cent – equal to around 300,000 at any one time.