Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Aspirin May Not Be the Way to Cut Your Chance of a Stroke ; IF YOU SUFFER FROM ATRIAL FIBRILLATION, YOU MAY NOT REALISE THAT NICE ISSUED NEW GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING THE CONDITION TWO YEARS AGO. ABI JACKSON LEARNS THOUSANDS MAY STILL BE AT GREATER RISK THAN THEY NEED TO BE

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Aspirin May Not Be the Way to Cut Your Chance of a Stroke ; IF YOU SUFFER FROM ATRIAL FIBRILLATION, YOU MAY NOT REALISE THAT NICE ISSUED NEW GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING THE CONDITION TWO YEARS AGO. ABI JACKSON LEARNS THOUSANDS MAY STILL BE AT GREATER RISK THAN THEY NEED TO BE

Article excerpt

TROKE is a big problem in the UK - it's the fourth most common cause of Sdeath, and a leading cause of major disability. High blood pressure is recognised as one of the biggest single risk factors for stroke - which is why there have been so many campaigns highlighting the importance of watching our salt intake (since salt's a big cause of hypertension) - but another possible risk factor is atrial fibrillation (AF).

The condition's associated with a five-fold increased stroke risk. While it's not the most common risk factor in stroke overall, figures suggest that every few hours, 10 people in the UK with AF will have a stroke, and strokes associated with AF tend to be major ones.

The good news is, modern treatments for managing AF can slash this risk. However, it seems lots of people still aren't benefiting from the recommended treatments. To address this, a new campaign called AF180 Degrees - initiated by a number of experts and patient groups, including AF Association, AntiCoagulation Europe and the Arrhythmia Alliance - has just been launched, to ensure people with AF are fully aware of the associated stroke risk and what they can do about it.

WHAT IS ATRIAL FIBRILLATION? AF is characterised by an irregular and very rapid heartbeat. It's one of the most If common forms of abnormal heart rhythm (affecting more than a million people in the UK) and mostly occurs in older age groups, and those with other existing problems like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, as well as a history of alcohol abuse and certain thyroid disorders. Some people will be aware of an abnormal heartbeat and may have palpitations, breathlessness and dizziness, but it doesn't always cause symptoms.

Not everybody with AF has been diagnosed, so it's vital to discuss any possible symptoms with your GP. The Arrhythmia Alliance (www.heartrhythmalliance.org) 'Know Your Pulse' campaign encourages people to learn how to take their own pulse for this purpose.

If AF is suspected, an ECG can be carried out to detect whether there's an abnormal heart rhythm, and you might then be referred for further investigations.

"If your pulse is not regular, go and speak to your GP about it," stresses Professor Martin Cowie, honorary consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, who adds that people should never ignore these symptoms, or assume they'll take care of themselves. Of course, they don't always indicate anything serious, but there are simple tests that can determine whether there is cause for concern.

"Often people are not taking palpitations seriously, or thinking, 'Well, I had AF but it will probably settle', so we're downplaying it all the time," says Prof Cowie.

HOW GREAT ARE THE RISKS? PROF Cowie points out that, while diet and lifestyle changes (being active, at a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and not smoking or consuming too much alcohol) are known to help reduce the overall risk of suffering a stroke, for patients with AF, the AF-associated stroke risk can not be controlled by lifestyle changes alone, which is why it's so vital that patients are aware of the link and are advised to take appropriate medication. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.