The initiative to create the first European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day follows the example of the US, where the first awareness day was introduced on the 22 February 2017 by the Alliance for Aging Research.
The European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day will be held for the first time on the 8 September 2018 and aims to improve diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease in Europe.
The project is supported by a group of European patient societies including:
- Croí in Ireland
- Alliance du Cœur in France
- Cuore Italia in Italy
- Heart Valve Voice in the UK
- AEPOVAC in Spain
- Hart Volgers in the Netherlands
The work in order to establish a European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day is supported by a Steering Group which consists of representatives of patient groups and experts in the field of heart valve disease – full list here.
A recent survey of more than 8,860 adults across Europe found that aortic stenosis is the heart condition people over 60 years old are least familiar with. Only 7% of respondents know what aortic stenosis is – the most common form of heart valve disease. Although awareness increases with age, 30 percent of respondents over the age of 65 say they know nothing about heart valve disease.
Often heart valve disease patients are diagnosed only because they see a health care professional for a regular check-up or for some other issue.
The seriousness of heart valve disease, combined with the fact that the symptoms are often difficult to detect or dismissed as a normal part of ageing, means that this lack of awareness can have troublesome or dangerous consequences.
This is why European Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day is so important, not only to raise awareness of the disease but to also make the population more aware of the symptoms so they can get the help they need at the right time. It is also important that clinicians provide their patients, especially those who are over the age of 65, with regular stethoscope exams as these are the key to detecting the disease.
Please mark September, 2018 in your calendar and get involved in spreading the word about heart valve disease.
For more information about heart valve disease visit the website of Heart Valve Voice.