How much do you know about Heart Valve Disease?
A new heart valve disease survey shows that low levels of awareness could be putting the health of 1 million over 65 years at risk
Heart valve disease affects over a million people over the age of 65 in the UK and kills more than most cancers every year, however, a recent survey of over 60s shows that awareness of this life-threatening condition is worryingly low.
The survey, carried out across 14 major cities in the UK, found that a staggering 94% of people do not know what the most common form of the disease, aortic stenosis, is and less than 3% say that heart valve disease gives them significant cause for concern compared to other illnesses (the biggest concerns being cancer and Alzheimer’s). In addition, almost three quarters of people say their doctor rarely or never checks their heart with a stethoscope, despite this being one of the first steps to detect heart valve disease. Respondents were much more familiar with heart attacks (59%), angina (42%) and coronary heart disease (42%).
Heart valve disease is a common, but treatable, heart condition where the heart valves no longer work properly, affecting the ability of the heart to pump blood round the body. Diagnosis can be difficult, either because patients put their symptoms down to the natural ageing process, or because a lot of people do not suffer severe or visible symptoms.
“Many over 65s mistakenly believe the symptoms of breathlessness, fatigue and chest pains are due to ageing,” says Mr Chris Young, Chair of Heart Valve Voice and Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Guys’ & St Thomas’ Hospital, London. “By not being aware and seeking diagnosis, they are putting their health at risk when heart valve replacement can restore them to good health.”
Despite an initial lack of awareness of the condition, the survey highlighted that two thirds of over 60s became more concerned about heart valve disease after receiving additional information, almost a third said they would seek further information and 7% recognised symptoms of the disease in themselves.
Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart is one of the simplest steps that doctors can take towards diagnosis. A doctor can listen for a characteristic heart ‘murmur’ that is usually the first indication of a problem with the heart valves at regular health checks. This would then result in a referral to a cardiac specialist, and further diagnostic tests. There are a range of effective treatments for people with heart valve disease, which improve life expectancy and give patients the best chance to return to normal life.
For more information about heart valve disease, and to read patient stories, please visit www.heartvalvevoice.org.
Follow us on Twitter @heartvalvevoice and like our Facebook page.
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Should tackles and scrums be prohibited from school rugby fields? - September 26, 2017
- Out with the old and in with the new - September 26, 2017
- Should Londoners choose if they want to use Uber? - September 24, 2017
- Four reasons you should book a holiday in October… - September 22, 2017
- Win One of Two Food Boxes from HelloFresh! - September 20, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!