The Facts About Valve Disease
Heart valve disease is a public health crisis that affects as many as 11 million Americans. It’s crucial that you recognize the risks and symptoms and seek treatment when necessary.
The good news: People with heart valve disease have more - and less risky - treatment options than ever before. And research is leading the way to even more solutions.
Some symptoms aren't just a sign of aging
Many people living with heart valve disease misattribute their symptoms - like feeling tired or having difficulties walking or breathing - to a normal part of aging. Some people with heart valve disease don’t have any symptoms at all. It’s critical to be aware of this condition and get your heart checked regularly. Thanks to research, there are now minimally invasive treatments that can often significantly improve and extend daily life.
Dan, a heart valve disease patient, shares how research changed his life.
What is Heart Valve Disease?
Heart valve disease (HVD) involves damage to one or more of the heart’s valves. This can reduce blood flow and lead to major complications — including death. Symptoms can be difficult to detect and are too often dismissed as a “normal” part of aging. This makes raising awareness about the disease critical.
If you're not familiar with valve disease, you're in good company. Less than 25% of adults are "somewhat" knowledgeable about valve disease and 30% of adults "know nothing" about heart valve disease. However, 10% of people age 75+ are estimated to have moderate to severe heart valve disease.
Heart valve disease is an abnormality, typically from aging, involving one or more of the four valves of the heart that move blood through the body. When disease is present, heart failure can occur.
How do I know if something is wrong with my heart valves?
Common symptoms are shortness of breath, loss of energy, weakness, dizziness or fainting spells, and chest pain or pressure. If you have experienced any of these, see your care provider for a checkup or seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms are severe. The described symptoms may be due to other conditions, but heart valve disease could be one of them.
Malignant Yet Treatable
Valve Disease does not get the attention it deserves and most people are not aware that it is highly treatable.
Act now and speak to a care provider. Your care provider will do a physical exam. If the provider finds a problem during the exam, they will order an echocardiogram (a sonogram of your heart) in order to take a closer look at your heart valves.
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is conducting research.
Key medical breakthroughs occur through research. Being part of a research study can help you - and future generations - combat cardiovascular diseases including valve disease. When you choose to participate in MHIF research, you may be eligible for therapies that are not yet widely available.
Interested in Learning More?
If you or someone you know is affected by heart valve disease, contact us today for more information on available studies.
Valve Awareness Day
Every February, the Valve Science Center holds a public education event for Valve Awareness Day to spread the word about the disease, celebrate the accomplishments made so far, discuss plans for more medical advances, and look forward to a world where more people are aware of the disease and the solutions. Watch the full 2022 address.