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Prevalence

The chances of developing heart valve disease increase with age. Yet if it is diagnosed and treated with valve replacement or repair promptly, people can return to a good quality of life and enjoy the Power of Positive Ageing.

Across the UK approximately 1.5 million people over the age of 65 are currently affected by heart valve disease and that number is only expected to grow with the number of people in this age bracket set to double to 19 million by 2050.

The OxVALVE Study reported that for people over the age of 65, the prevalence of heart valve disease will increase from 1.5 million people currently, to double that in 2046 and to as many as 3.3 million people by 2056, representing a 122% increase.

Aortic stenosis, the most common form of heart valve disease in developed countries, is thought to affect 2-7% of the population over the age of 65. Estimates suggest that, by the age of 75, the prevalence of heart valve disease is over 13%.

In terms of all types of heart valve disease, aortic stenosis is the most common (43%), followed by mitral regurgitation (32%) and mitral stenosis (12%).

Due to the damage caused to the valves, heart valve disease patients have to be careful of contracting these infections and disorders below.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation AF for short, is a heart condition that causes an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate.
Symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Heart palpitation/fluttering or irregular beating

Contact your GP if are experiencing any of these symptoms. Medication can be prescribed to help prevent the chances of stroke and control your heart rate. Click here to read more.

Endocarditis

Bacterial and fungal Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocardium). The endocardium becomes inflamed and can then cause valve damage. Endocarditis is a very serious infection and needs to be treated immediately as it can cause heart failure and/or strokes. Click here for more information.

Heart Failure

Heart failure can develop quickly or gradually over weeks.
Symptoms:

  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling tired during exercise
  • Swollen ankles and legs

See GP if the symptoms worsen. If you experience sudden or severe symptoms call 999.

Rheumatic Fever

Symptoms:

  • Arthritis symptoms of swelling/painful joints.
  • Heart inflammation which results in shortness of breath, persistent cough, rapid heartbeat, feeling tired and chest pain.


Staph (Staphylococcus) Infections

Staph infection is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. It usually affects the skin and will usually go away with time, but sometimes it will need to be treated with antibiotics. It can rarely cause blood poisoning or toxic shock syndrome.
Symptoms:

  • Painful red lumps or bumps
  • Hot, res and swollen skin
  • Sores, crust or blisters
  • Sore, red eyelids or eyes.

If any of the symptoms get worse or last longer than a week you may need antibiotics to treat the infection. If you have a weakened immune system, make an appointment immediately with your GP.
Preventing:

  • Wash hands with soap and water regularly
  • Clean your skin in the shower every day.
  • Keep cuts clean and covered
  • Use disposable tissues to blow your nose.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brains cells. This effect how the body work and can change how you think and feel.

Symptoms:

  • Face - Has one side of their face dropped? Can they smile or side of the mouth dropped down?
  • Arms - experiencing numbness in their arms and not being able to lift their arms.
  • Speech - Slurred speech or understanding of what is being said by others.
  • Time - If you see these signs call 999 immediately.
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