CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Cleveland Clinic study shows elderly people who have aortic stenosis and also take calcium supplements have a higher mortality rate.

For those unfamiliar, aortic stenosis restricts blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

“If you are taking calcium supplements and you had aortic stenosis, then what we found is that your chance of dying from aortic valve disease, or chance of dying in general, or needing aortic valve surgery was higher compared to the patients who are not taking calcium supplements,” said Samir Kapadia, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic and lead author on the study.

Dr. Kapadia said calcium can cause stiffness in the blood vessels and heart valves, which is why it’s so dangerous.

He said for people who have aortic stenosis and are not getting enough calcium from their diet, then it may be worth it to take a calcium supplement. However, it’s best to consult with their physician to be sure.

With that being said, he advises taking a calcium supplement just for the sake of it. He said it’s important to know whether an individual is actually deficient in calcium, otherwise they could be taking too much.

“I think one of the take home messages is that if you are taking calcium supplements, you should at least look into it, exactly why you are taking it and if you are taking it for a specific reason, confirm with your doctors or your dietitians to say this is not excessive to what you actually need,” he advised.

More than 2,600 people with aortic stenosis took part in the study, with the average age being 74 years old.