While the majority of Americans are at least aware of atrial fibrillation (AF), many may be unable to identify or may even ignore the warning signs of the disorder. In fact, according to a new survey issued by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), one in three Americans indicate that if they felt their heart quiver or skip a beat they would ignore it or wait for it to happen again before taking action.
This February, in observance of Heart Health Month, the Heart Rhythm Society spotlights the need for consumer education on the risks and warning signs associated with atrial fibrillation.
Although more than 60% of Americans correctly identified atrial fibrillation as a heart rhythm disorder, the survey results also showed that only 32% would consult a primary care physician and less than 10% would seek a heart specialist referral if they felt their hearts quiver or skip a beat. Most would ignore it, wait for it to happen again or even wait for something more serious to occur.
“The fact that many Americans are aware of atrial fibrillation is encouraging, however, it is equally as important that people recognise the warning signs and take appropriate action should they feel or experience something out of the ordinary,” said Anne M Gillis, president of Heart Rhythm Society. “Heart Health Month presents an opportunity for us to share information and encourage people to listen to their bodies. It is vital to talk with your doctor because you just do not know when a very small sign could mean something much more.”
Through the “Afib Feels Like” awareness campaign and ongoing efforts year-around, HRS is working to increase public knowledge of atrial fibrillation. AF awareness efforts include working with patients across the country to help share personal stories and experiences.