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Detect AF – a common cause of stroke

On Monday, November 18th, AF Association will launch Global AF Aware Week 2019. An annual awareness week dedicated to raising awareness of Atrial Fibrillation (AF), the most commonly experienced arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder), through our Detect, Protect, Correct, Perfect Campaign (www.detectaf.org).

AF is an irregular, rapid heart rhythm that commonly causes symptoms such as heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. AF usually occurs when the upper chambers of the heartbeat out of rhythm. AF affects more than 1.5 million people across the UK with up to 500,000 still unidentified, undiagnosed and at high risk of an AF-related stroke.  AF can affect adults of any age but is most commonly experienced by those in the 65 and over age range. Although AF itself is not a life-threatening condition, it can quickly evolve into truly life-threatening complications such as AF-related stroke and heart failure. AF-related strokes are known to be more devastating, debilitating and more fatal than any other type of stroke., AFib patients have a 5-fold higher risk of developing an AF-related stroke and 2-fold risk of dying from an AF-related stroke. Early detection of AF could prevent the likelihood of an AF-related stroke or heart failure.

The key aim of AF Association Global AF Aware Week 2019 is to DETECT AF through our Know Your Pulse Program (www.knowyourpulse.org/uk). There is currently no required program of pulse checks or heart rhythm screening the UK. Something as simple as Knowing Your Pulse can save your life and reduce your risk of a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke – the most severe type of stroke. It only takes 30 seconds and is so simple that people of all ages, young and old, can learn how to do it.

Professor A. John Camm, President and Trustee of AF Association, explains, “The detection of Atrial Fibrillation is of global importance. An estimated 33.5 million people are affected by AF worldwide. It is critical to raise awareness of the condition during AF Association Global AF Aware Week. If left untreated, AF can cause AF-related stroke and heart failure.”

Trudie Lobban MBE, AF Association Founder and CEO, has said, “AF is the most common arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder), it affects millions of people worldwide, it costs lives as well as healthcare budgets yet something as simple as all of us knowing our pulse and recognising when it is irregular can help. Through our Know Your Pulse program, we are able to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect AF with a simple 30-second pulse check – it can save so many lives..”

If you Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect, you could potentially save a life and that life could very well be your own. For more information regarding events, media kits and resources, please visit: www.gafaw.org and www.detectaf.org.

-Ends-

Media resources

  • For more information on AF Association Global AF Aware Week, visit:

www.gafaw.org

  • For more information or to arrange an interview with Trudie Lobban MBE or Prof A John Camm, please contact Rachel Harris on harris@heartrhythmalliance.org or call 01789 867502

Notes to editors

  • AF Association provides support, information, education and awareness on atrial fibrillation. It works in partnership with patients and clinical experts to advance the education of both the medical profession and the general public on the risks, detection and treatment of AF.
    • Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia)
    • It can affect adults of any age, but it is more common as people get older. In the over 65-year-old age group, it affects about 10% of people.
    • Atrial fibrillation or AF occurs when chaotic electrical activity develops in the upper chambers of the heart or atria, and completely takes over from the sinus node. As a result, the atria no longer beats in an organised way, and pump less efficiently. The AV node will stop some of these very rapid impulses from travelling to the ventricles, but the ventricles will still beat irregularly and possibly rapidly.
    • A clot may form in the heart which can travel to the brain causing an AF-related stroke.

 

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