This year’s Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week aims to build awareness of symptoms and improve diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease globally.
Listen To Your Heart
If you are over 65, ask your doctor for a stethoscope check at least once a year. Heart valve disease is common, serious, but treatable. #ListenToYourHeart #heartvalveweek20.
95% of older Irish adults aren’t aware of heart valve disease!
What is Heart Valve Disease?
Heart valve disease is when one or more of the valves in your heart become diseased or damaged, preventing them from opening or closing properly. This can affect the ability of your heart to pump blood effectively.
It is a common, serious, but treatable condition which is particularly associated with ageing.
A message from Croí
Q+A with Dr. Darren Mylotte
Know The Symptoms
Some people with heart valve disease will experience no symptoms for many years. Some common symptoms people may experience include:
- shortness of breath, particularly after physical activity or when lying down
- swelling of the ankles and feet
- feeling excessively tired
- dizziness or fainting
- irregular heart beat
- chest pain or tightness
Frequently, symptoms can worsen gradually over time, making it important to track any changes you may notice. Feeling older than your age or finding it hard to keep up? Think HEART VALVE DISEASE!
Why raising awareness of Heart Valve Disease is so important
Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week is important, not only to raise awareness of the disease but also to make the population more aware of the symptoms so that they can seek 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 heart valve disease.
One out of eight people over the age of 75 suffers from moderate to severe heart valve disease, which involves damage to one or more of the heart’s valves. People are living longer and older people are crucial contributors to society and the economy. Untreated valve disease is a barrier to active ageing but conversely, early detection and timely treatment will increase longevity and quality of life.
Often heart valve disease patients are diagnosed only when they see a healthcare 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, can often result in troublesome or dangerous consequences.
2020 Irish Heart Valve Disease Survey Results
Public awareness of heart valve disease is low in Ireland. Less than 5% of older Irish people can accurately define aortic stenosis, the most common form of heart valve disease.
For over 65’s an annual stethoscope examination is a key step in early detection. While almost a third (32%) of older Irish people claim to receive a stethoscope check at every GP visit in Ireland, almost a fifth of Irish respondents over 65 (17%) claim they never receive a stethoscope check from their GP, or only when they ask for it, suggesting a variance in healthcare professional screening for aortic stenosis.
There is low public awareness of the new treatments for valve disease. Over 60s in Ireland would prefer a keyhole procedure over open-heart surgery, or daily/weekly drug therapy for the treatment of a heart condition. However, a previous survey in showed that 85% of respondents polled were unaware of transcatheter replacement (TAVI), a keyhole procedure for the treatment of heart valve disease.
We need to cherish our older population – they make a very valuable contribution to society. The over 60s in Ireland play an important role as carers with almost a third (28.1%) providing care for someone close to them; they are key contributors to the economy, the political system and the labour force.
View the 2020 European Heart Valve Disease Survey Results
Click to enlarge (opens new window)
Further information & advice
If you have any queries or concerns relation to heart valve disease, please don’t hesitate to contact Croí’s support service, Heartlink West, Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:30pm: Call 091-544310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.