Wil's Blog

Wil's Blog

Monday 14th September 2020

Today marks the start of Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week 2020. Day 1 has seen the release of Global Heart Hub's European Heart Health Survey. While in the UK Heart Valve Voice and our patient advocates have taken to the TV and Radio to promote the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease - and encourage over 65s to ask their GP for a stethoscope check.

The Global Heart Hub's survey marked the beginning of the day and puts into perspective why this week is so crucial to Heart Valve Voice and our partners on the Valve Disease Patient Council. The Survey results, published in Clinical Research in Cardiology, show that older Europeans are as unaware as ever of the risks of the condition - with data showing that only a quarter of Europeans over 60 would visit their doctor for investigation of symptoms, including fatigue and reduced physical activity.

The survey demonstrates clearly that our older population are a key, yet underestimated, contributor to the effective functioning of our communities, families and economies. So improving the awareness, diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease will benefit us all. Our older community have selflessly confined themselves to protect the health of others during COVID-19. Now it is time to repay them by ensuring that they receive the treatments that will transform their quality of life and lower their vulnerability to future pandemics and other significant infections.

Today, together with some of our incredible patient advocates, we took to the TV and Radio to promote the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease and share the lived experiences of those treated for the disease. We were on national TV and Radio stations from across the UK, sharing our #ListenToYourHeart message and encouraging older people to ask their GP for a stethoscope check.

Thank you to our patient advocates MP Steve McCabe, Philip Warlow, Ian Berry, Lewis Benn, David Blair, Alison Banayoti and Tommy Hepburn for joining me on this crucial awareness drive. We started at 7 am and have not stopped all day. Opportunities like Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week give us the power to reach new audiences, and there is no better way to raise awareness of the condition than through the lived experience of those treated for the disease. Together, we delivered this crucial message to 5.9 million people - a truly brilliant way to start the week.

Heart Valve Voice Advocate Philip Warlow said “I was more than happy to support this great cause when Wil asked me. I was treated for heart valve disease last year and prior to diagnosis had been modifying my behaviours to cover key symptoms. On the radio today I realised how overshadowed heart valve disease is by other illnesses that are more at the forefront of the media and the minds of the public. However this is a serious condition, so promotion of the prevention by information on signs and symptoms is crucial to saving lives.”

We've got lots more planned for the week so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn - or go to click here to find out more about how you can get involved.