Heart valve disease is usually treatable

Feb. 22 marks the second annual National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day. I urge everyone to educate themselves on this common yet little-known disease.

Heart valve disease (HVD) occurs when one or more heart valves do not work properly. This disease reduces blood flow and can cause major health complications. Estimates show at least 5 million Americans fall victim to this disease, resulting in 25,000 deaths a year — an estimated 68 people per day.

Individuals over the age of 75 are especially vulnerable to HVD, along with those who have experienced previous heart-related problems. Yet nearly 75 percent of Americans have very little knowledge about HVD.

Fortunately, once detected, valve disease is usually treatable for patients of all ages. Visit ValveDiseaseDay.org to learn more. You never know when this information might help save a life.

Sue Peschin is the president and CEO for the Alliance for Aging Research

Not one more mass shooting

I am so sick and tired of the same horror being repeated again and again and, tragically, once again. Hundreds of mass shootings — killing thousands of children, women and men — and still, Republicans in Congress refuse to enact strong gun control. They say it would not be effective, that it would be unconstitutional. It would endanger their funding from the National Rifle Association.

When the Second Amendment was written, people were guaranteed the right to bear arms, implicitly to resist a totalitarian government. But that right is guaranteed only in the context “of a well-regulated militia.” It does not give every crazy asshole the right to shoot ’em up whenever and wherever he wants.

Gun use should be licensed like driving is, with periodic background checks and proficiency (safety) tests. Usage can be regulated, as distinct from ownership.

Those who oppose licensing gun usage because it wouldn’t stop criminals are sacrificing the doable at the alter of perfection. It takes time for gun regulation to take root. It took about 12 years before Australia’s gun restrictions reduced gun deaths, but slowly, the new system worked.

If gun licensing prevents even one deadly carnage, wouldn’t that be worth it? As the sages taught us, “When you save a life, it’s as if you have saved the entire world.”

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont, Calif.

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