SHD were spotlighted in an in-depth report published by ‘Corriere della Sera’ on the occasion of the launching in Brussels of the “Manifesto for a Healthier Europe” on 21 November 2018.
Journalist Elena Meli closely looked into the matter in a series of articles and analysed SHD related issues from a progressively- getting-towards-ageing point of view and in the light of the need to focus attention on such diseases. The report stresses the importance of an individual and collective programming action to tackle the challenges and turn longer life expectancy into an opportunity for all EU countries, which particularly concerns Italy as the oldest and more growingly ageing country in the area.
A better quality of life and a healthy active ageing are not only achievable but a must-reach-for imperative and a main goal for the EU. This is the focus of the article ‘Good ageing. It’s possible, actually it’s a must’ pointing out social and economic challenges due to the increased life expectancy and, consequently, stressing the need to maintain a good health and an active life. Eurostat estimates alert that in 2040 25% of the healthcare demand will be for people over the age of 65. Interviewed Professor Antonelli Incalzi, President of SIGG (Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics), noted that the only possible option is to offset the most impacting diseases that threaten elderly lives, such as cardiovascular ones. Prevention programs and healthy lifestyle – commented Giuseppe Paolisso, geriatrics at University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli – can help but to ensure effective healthcare assistance and management of diseases remains crucial.
In the article ‘Higher attention to be paid to heart valve’ the principles of the Manifesto launched during the roundtable in Brussels are reported and commented on the basis of the Italian situation. In 2016 in Italy CVD represented 11% of the total health budget; most importantly, 12.5% of people over the age of 65 suffer from valve disease and one third of them is not treated. Age-induced cardiac defects are constantly increasing and will reach relevant numbers; nevertheless, Cardiologist Christophe Dubois, of Catholic University of Leuven, notes that awareness about the growing burden of Structural Heart Disease is really low and symptoms are not recognized. But diagnosis is key to foster appropriate interventions that can make the difference in preserving senior people in shape and productive, and in limiting death risk – death rate of aortic stenosis can reach 50% after 2 years since being diagnosed, in case of no interventions. Since in 2040 Italy will have an estimate 2.5 million of people over 65 with SHD, healthcare policies need being re-designed: specifically, policies on active ageing should include SHD as an issue to tackle.