Healthy Ageing and Heart Valve Disease
Thursday 23rd March 2023
On December 7, 2022, the Global Coalition on Aging and the Global Heart Hub convened a cross-sector roundtable of experts from healthcare, patient advocacy, policy organizations, and the private sector to discuss the challenge of heart valve disease in the context of ageing societies and their evolving needs.
The roundtable’s global stakeholders identified combatting ageism as central to unlocking progress in addressing under-diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease.
Ageism influences everything from daily societal engagement to healthcare, health policy and budget allocation. In an ageing population, heart valve disease stands out as both a victim of the ageist culture and an opportunity for how we might change the dynamic and attitude towards healthy and active ageing in the 21st century.
As population ageing accelerates, heart valve disease is growing as both a life-threatening health challenge and a costly drain on health systems and public budgets. Yet the disease remains widely under-recognised due, at least in part, to ageist biases. This creates a clear opportunity to better utilise the tools already available to improve diagnosis and treatment, streamline care pathways, and, ultimately, save lives.
In light of this opportunity, and aligned with the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing, the experts at the roundtable set out in this white paper a call for policymakers, health system leaders; patients, caregivers, and their advocates; healthcare providers; and other stakeholders to prioritise and strengthen responses to heart valve disease.
“Addressing heart valve disease can be a clear success story for the healthy ageing agenda. There have been impressive innovations, but societies must overcome the widespread ageism that still delays diagnosis, limits care, and ultimately leads to avoidable costs and impacts on people’s lives.” John Beard, MBBS, PhD, Director, Global Centre for Modern Ageing
Heart valve disease demonstrates the consequences of an ageist culture – and what’s possible if we can change that culture. This report examines how behaviour and policy change can best address heart valve disease in our 21st century.
Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said, “This is an excellent paper which illustrates how growth in attitudes towards ageing provides momentum to address heart valve disease better. We know that our older population are key contributors to the economy and their communities. So, early detection and treatment should be seen as an investment in them and one which will show returns for us all. Heart valve disease needs to be included in any healthy ageing agenda, and I look forward to working with patients, clinicians and relevant stakeholders to ensure they are.”