WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2019 – On Friday, February 22, 65 organizations across the United States will host educational events and lead outreach campaigns focused on highlighting the importance of heart valve disease awareness and early detection. These organizations, spearheaded by the Alliance for Aging Research, are partners of National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day (“Valve Disease Day”), an annual day dedicated to increasing recognition of the specific risks and symptoms of heart valve disease, improve detection and treatment, and ultimately save lives.
Heart valve disease involves damage to one or more of the heart’s four valves. While some types are not serious, others can lead to major complications, including death. Heart valve disease can be there at birth, or develop from damage later in life from calcification, radiation to the chest, other cardiovascular diseases and conditions, or infection. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Americans have heart valve disease and each year, more than 25,000 people in the U.S. die from the disease. Fortunately, heart valve disease can usually be successfully treated with valve repair and replacement in patients of all ages. Despite the millions of Americans affected by heart valve disease, a recent survey found that three in four adults know little to nothing about heart valve disease. Although age is the greatest risk factor for heart valve disease, 30 percent of respondents over age 65 say they know nothing about the disease. To combat this lack of knowledge and in hopes of building awareness across the nation, the Alliance for Aging Research started the National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day campaign in 2017.
“Heart valve disease is a serious, yet underrecognized, disease. Combined with the fact that disease symptoms are often difficult to detect or dismissed as a normal part of aging, lack of awareness becomes dangerous,” said Susan Peschin, MHS, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “The awareness day theme is ‘Listen to Your Heart’, which is meant to encourage everyone to know their risk factors for heart valve disease, listen to their hearts and get them checked regularly, and know where to turn if they notice symptoms. Knowledge is not just power, it can be lifesaving.”
This year, on February 22, the National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day activities will include:
- An official flagship kick-off event hosted by MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. Speakers include:
- Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Susan Peschin, MHS, President and CEO, Alliance for Aging Research
- John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD
- Stuart F. Seides, MD, Physician Executive Director, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
- Vinod H. Thourani, MD, Chair, Department of Cardiac Surgery, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
- Lowell F. Satler, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
- An official #ValveDiseaseDay Twitter chat, co-hosted by the Alliance and the American Heart Association, from 1-2 p.m. EST. Participants include the 65 National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day partners from across the nation, heart valve disease patients, heart valve disease experts and medical providers, and more.
- A wide range of local awareness events and outreach activities led by Valve Disease Day partners, including social media, newsletters, blogs, media interviews, facility tours, and more.
Learn more about the National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day events and awareness activities by following the #ValveDiseaseDay hashtag. A full list of partners and more detailed information about heart valve disease can be found at www.ValveDiseaseDay.org.
About the Alliance for Aging Research:
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application 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. For more information, please visit www.agingresearch.org.
Lauren Smith Dyer
Vice President of Communications