Most of your older patients are probably familiar with heart disease, but many have never even heard of heart valve disease (HVD). Because of this, they may confuse their symptoms as just a part of getting older.
In fact, as many as 1 in 2 people over 65 don't even know they have HVD and 3 in 5 HVD patients didn't have or recognize their symptoms and were only diagnosed after a regular check-up or unrelated doctor visit.
Lightheaded, faint, or dizzy feelings
Irregular heartbeat, heart flutter, or chest pains
Shortness of breath after light activity or while lying down
Tiredness, even if they've had plenty of sleep
Not feeling like themselves (missing out on daily activities)
Although you will probably conduct multiple tests with your patients, it’s important they understand that an echocardiogram is the standard diagnostic test and one of the most accurate ways to see if they have heart valve disease.
To help calm any fears they may have, let them know an echocardiogram is:
A simple heart ultrasound
Over in as little as 20 minutes
Let your diagnosed patients know that their heart valve disease can get worse over time, so it's important they have routine echocardiograms and follow-up appointments, especially if they're asymptomatic.
|Every 3 to 5 years|
|Every 1 to 2 years|
Every 6 to 12 months*
*Every 1-2 years if you have mitral stenosis