I have pretty much what you have. My leaky valves, including the floppy aortic, were discovered about ten years ago. My cardiologist told me that leakage from all the other valves was OK, but not *that* one.
I do have Reactive Arthritis, an autoimmune disorder which can cause incompetent valves, but my doc thinks age and ordinary wear and tear of the valve edges did mine in. A simple cold is a most unlikely cause. The valves are incredibly thin and delicate, and just having your heart beat for 55 years is hard on them. In addition, some people are bound to have more fragile tissue there than others. It's the law of averages.
I passed my first (diagnostic) stress test and Echo with flying colors. I am a lifelong gym rat, older than you, and my cardio told me to keep on doing what I am doing--and to have a stress/echo every two years. So far, my condition is perfectly stable, though, being an ordinary woman, not a competitor, I do not lift heavy weights.
I suggest you have a serious discussion with your doc about this, because when you have aortic incompetence--the technical term for our leaks--the idea is to keep blood pressure down to spare the valve as much as possible.. Obviously, heavy lifting can involve Valsalva maneuvers and pressure surges. So have that conversation.
Thank you so much for your detailed response. I am having a hard time getting my head around this. It came as a shock to find out maybe my heart is not in perfect shape. As you say though, maybe the cause is just wear and tear on an aging body.The cardio told me not to lift heavy, to do more aerobic exercise and to come back in a year for another echo.
Thanks again for your response and support.
If your doc told you not to worry about your trace regurgitation but to come back in a year to repeat the echo, I think that was exactly the right advice. To me, having had my aortic valve replaced because of severe regurgitation, trace regurgitation is not a big deal, even in the aortic. As long as it stays trace, you have no worries. But it is prudent to repeat the echo. If there is no change in a year, the doctor may not think you need to repeat the echo quite as often from then on.