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Feel the beat to prevent stroke

26 September 2018

Last week we were once again proud to support hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation to raise  awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF) in our community during the Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week (17 September to 23 September). Just because the Awareness Week has ended doesn’t mean community attention on AF should too.

AF is a particular type of irregular heartbeat. In a healthy heart, all four chambers beat at the same time, somewhere between 60 and 100 times per minute. If someone has an irregular heart, the left side of the heart (left atrium) beats rapidly and unpredictably and can beat irregularly at over 400 times per minute.

If left untreated or poorly managed, AF may lead to serious health complications, like stroke or heart disease. However fast and simple checks could help identify those at risk of stroke.

AF affects up to 460,000 Australians and causes around 36 percent of strokes. The condition costs the Australian economy at least $1.25 billion every year.

hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall said Australians must act now to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease caused by AF. Ms Hall said that AF was the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm but once detected, it can be managed.


hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall

This year, hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation urged people to attend a screening event in their local area or visit their own healthcare provider to get checked for AF. However checks for AF shouldn’t be restricted to just one week of the year – it’s important to pay attention to your health all year round.

According to the Stroke Foundation, while your risk of AF and stroke increases with age, anyone of any age may be impacted.

Currently, there is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and by 2050 this number is expected in increase to one stroke every four minutes. Yet most strokes can be prevented.

More than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by managing conditions – including AF – and living a healthy lifestyle.

Recognising the increasing incidence of AF in the community, Australia’s first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) were released by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) in August. For more on the Guidelines.

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