All ‘walking timebombs’ without heart screening

COULD you be the one in 10 of those aged over 65 who is a walking timebomb?

Ahead of Heart Valve Disease (HVD) Awareness Week, February 26-March 3, new research, commissioned by charity, hearts4heart, revealed that despite more than half a million Australians impacted by HVD, only one third were even aware of the disease and their heart attack and stroke risk.
As such, over 65s are urged to attend a free screening at Bankstown Sports Club daily from Monday, February 26, to Friday, March 1, 11am-2pm, with no appointment required.
Valvular heart disease is when any valve in the heart has damage or is diseased.
Common symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations and dizziness, can often be dismissed and attributed to old age.
Concerningly, some people with heart valve disease do not show symptoms, even if their disease is severe, all of which can make diagnosis difficult.
A simple stethoscope check, however, to identify a heart murmur can help detect heart valve disease, which can lead to an earlier diagnosis, reducing the risk of complications and enhancing quality of life.
Bankstown’s Florence ‘Frankie’ Smith is one of the lucky ones.
After a “tightness in the chest feeling” in 2016, she went to her GP and within days, had two stents put in her heart but was advised further work was needed within three to five years.
She felt her symptoms returning last November and had a keyhole procedure to have her aortic valve replaced.
“I’m 80 but I feel like I’m 21 now,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m back to playing tennis and water aerobics and just try to move a lot; I feel so grateful to be here and am thankful to the amazing doctors we have here in Bankstown.
“If your body doesn’t feel normal, head straight to your GP, it could save your life.”
Florence’s cardiologist Associate Professor Kaleab Asrress said heart disease remained the biggest killer in the world.
“But in the last few years, we’ve developed a range of effective therapies, treatments and keyhole surgery procedures, with most people recovering well and amazed at their improved quality of life,” he said.
“When you think that 78 per cent of people with valve disease are undiagnosed, it’s important that you get this free screening at Bankstown Sports if over 65 for peace of mind or so you can take action.”