Caregiver & Elder Care News
Heart Valve Disease Hits One of Ten
Elderly Women Warns Educational Campaign
Aging Research says it hits men and women but women tend to have worse
Oct. 10, 2014 - A
new campaign has been launched aimed at educating about heart valve
disease in women, a condition that causes damage to one or more of the
heart’s four valves and can lead to loss of independence, disability and
death. It affects one in 10 women age 75 and over and one in 50 of all
adult women, says the Alliance for Aging Research.
“Older age is a risk factor for heart valve
disease,” according to the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “As you age, your heart
valves thicken and become stiffer. Also, people are living longer now
than in the past. As a result, heart valve disease has become an
increasing problem.” (More about heart valve disease below news report.)
While the disease
affects both men and women, females tend to have a worse prognosis than
men. This is often because women are more likely to ignore their
symptoms and delay seeing their health care professional. Research has
also shown that women who experience symptoms of vale disease are often
misdiagnosed as having anxiety and do not get appropriate treatment.
“Our campaign was
inspired by the need to get more information out there about the dangers
of undiagnosed valve disease in women,” says Lindsay Clarke, vice
president of health programs for the Alliance.
“We want to
educate on both the symptoms of valve disease and emphasize the
importance of seeking treatment as soon as those symptoms occur. With
early detection and proper treatment, we can help women avoid the
potentially devastating effects of valve disease."
At the center of
the Alliance’s campaign is a newly developed valve disease workshop kit
that is available to community partners and organizations. This workshop
kit provides all of the resources necessary for community leaders to
conduct workshops at hospitals, senior centers, churches and other
It includes a
leader’s guide with tips and talking points for the workshop, a consumer
brochure and quizzes, a slide presentation to be used during the
workshop, and more.
The materials can
be downloaded for free from the Alliance’s
valve disease page.
Also available on
the page are:
An educational “pocket film”
about the disease that can be watched on
YouTube. (Note: The Alliance offers a variety of these films focused
on health-related topics at this the
>> Fact sheets on the basics of
valve disease and tips for patients on how to talk to a health care
professional if they think they are experiencing its symptoms.
>> Podcasts featuring interviews
with a valve surgery patient, a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon.
>> An educational quiz that tests
knowledge of the condition.
are educated in a community setting or learn on their own, we want these
resources to reach as many people as possible,” says Clarke.
“The Alliance is
committed to our mission to help people live longer, healthier, more
About the Alliance
for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research
reports to be the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to
accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in
order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and
health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has
since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential
voice with policymakers. Visit
www.agingresearch.org for more information.
About Heart Valve Diseases - MedlinePlus
Also called: Valvular heart disease
Your heart has four valves. Normally, these valves open to let blood
flow through or out of your heart, and then shut to keep it from flowing
backward. But sometimes they don't work properly. If they don't, you
Regurgitation - when blood leaks back through the valve in the wrong
Mitral valve prolapse
- when one of the valves, the mitral valve, has "floppy" flaps and
doesn't close tightly. It's one of the most common heart valve
conditions. Sometimes it causes regurgitation.
Stenosis - when the valve doesn't open enough and blocks blood flow
Valve problems can be present at birth or caused by infections, heart
attacks, or heart disease or damage. The main sign of heart valve
disease is an unusual heartbeat sound called a heart murmur. Your doctor
can hear a heart murmur with a stethoscope. But many people have heart
murmurs without having a problem. Heart tests can show if you have a
heart valve disease. Some valve problems are minor and do not need
treatment. Others might require medicine, medical procedures, or surgery
to repair or replace the valve.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Heart Valve Disease (National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Heart Valves Explained(American Heart