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Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness week

Nurse Speaking With Patient 2

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness week takes place between Monday 19th – 25th November 2018. AF is the most common arrhythmia (heart rhythm) disorder in the UK, with over 1.5 million people diagnosed with the condition in the UK.

Some people with AF, particularly older people, do not have any symptoms, and the disorder is only discovered during tests for another condition. However the most obvious symptom for many people is heart palpitations, where the heart feels like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly. This often lasts a few seconds or even a few minutes, and the heart may also beat very fast. People with AF may also experience tiredness, breathlessness, feeling lightheaded and chest pain.  

Did you know AF can be detected by a simple pulse check? At rest, a normal heart rate should be 60 to 100 beats per minute. In AF, the heart rate can often be considerably higher than 100 beats per minute, and each individual beat is erratic. Heart rhythm charity Arrythmia Alliance has more information about knowing your pulse and how to check it. A full medical investigation will be needed before a diagnosis can be made, so make sure you see your GP if your heartbeat changes suddenly, or if your heart rate is too fast or slow.

Our RightCare Stroke Prevention Programme runs across all eight of our CCGs in NW London to help prevent stroke in our local communities. For more information about our Stroke Prevention Programme, please contact Krzysztof Walecki, NW London Project Manager for Stroke Prevention, by email at: k.walecki@nhs.net or by telephone on: 07877 170 300. 

You can share your story about AF or find out more about the condition using the hashtag #GlobalAFAwareWeek. The AF Association has also produced a set of patient resources that can be downloaded here.

For further information about AF please take a look at the NHS Choices website.