Ditchling businessman urges others to get checked for heart valve disease

A Ditchling businessman is urging people to not ignore the symptoms of heart valve disease following his own experience.

David Eaton had to have valve replacement surgery after a heart murmur was detected by chance after he contracted a bacterial infection while travelling across Asia for work.

Doctors could not understand why the 66-year-old was suffering from tiredness and after a stethoscope check doctors found that he had a heart murmur caused by a defective aortic valve.

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The businessman and silk trader is now calling on others of his age to ask their doctors for a stethoscope check to get themselves checked during routine appointments.

David Eaton, of Ditchling, is urging others to get checked for heart valve disease. Picture: Havas SO

He said: “I’ve always had an active lifestyle and would often travel for my work as a silk trader.

“My need for a heart valve replacement occurred after I contracted a bacterial infection from my travels.

“I was being treated for the infection but still suffering from tiredness and headaches, which baffled doctors for many months.

“Eventually a doctor suggested it could be a problem with my heart and a stethoscope check confirmed I had a heart murmur.

“My aortic valve had stiffened and couldn’t open properly.”

David said now he has had a valve replacement, he feels like 40 years old again.

“The experience was life affirming,” he added.

“I have been urging older people in my village to get their heart checked with a stethoscope when they see their GP and I strongly believe over 60s across the country should do the same.”

David has set up a community WhatsApp group and Facebook page to remind others of the seriousness of heart valve disease and to encourage others not to ignore the symptoms and believes over 60s across the country should do the same.

Heart valve disease is a serious condition, affecting more than 1.5 million people in the UK over the age of 65.

More than half of patients with severe aortic stenosis die within two years of developing symptoms. Early detection is vital and can be achieved via a simple stethoscope check.

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