- People across West Suffolk are being urged to have their pulses taken for signs of a heart condition that has been described as a “ticking time bomb”.
- Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes an irregular heart rhythm and often abnormally fast heart rate and is one of the major causes of severe stroke, particularly among older people.
- There are an estimated 5,000 undiagnosed AF patients in Suffolk, and many people do not show any obvious symptoms and may be completely unaware they have the condition.
- Once diagnosed, anti-coagulant treatment through a simple tablet medication taken once or twice daily reduces the likelihood of a severe stroke by up to 70 per cent.
- Time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosing and treating AF. We have a problem in Suffolk because data shows that of all the people admitted to West Suffolk Hospital following a stroke, 35 per cent of them had AF. The national average is 25 per cent
In West Suffolk we are now pursuing the ‘Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect’ policy.
A simple device can measure a person’s pulse for irregularity and show in 30 seconds if they are potentially suffering from AF. An irregular heart beat that might mean they have AF. In those instances we signpost people to go to their GP to confirm the diagnosis and arrange treatment.
Public Health Suffolk have recently agreed to include testing for AF as part of the NHS health checks carried out by GP practices, pharmacies and OneLife Suffolk.