Monday 18 November marks the start of Global AF Aware Week 2019, launched by the AF Association. The annual awareness week is dedicated to raising awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF), through the association’s Detect, Protect, Correct, Perfect campaign.
A press release from the AF Association outlines that the key aim of the Global AF Aware Week 2019 is to detect AF through their Know Your Pulse programme. Currently, there is no required programme of pulse checks or heart rhythm screening in the UK, it says, pointing out that something as simple as knowing your pulse can save lives and reduce the risk of a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke. And, it says, it only takes 30 seconds, and is simple enough that people of all ages can learn how to do it.
John Camm, president and trustee of the AF Association, explains: “The detection of atrial fibrillation is of global importance. An estimated 33.5 million people are affected by AF worldwide. It is critical to raise awareness for the condition during the AF Association Global AF Aware week. If left untreated, AF can cause AF-related stroke and heart failure.”
And, Trudie Lobban, AF Association founder and CEO, is also quoted in the press release: “AF is the most common arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder), it affects millions of people worldwide, it costs lives as well as healthcare budgets, yet something as simple as all of us knowing our pulse and recognising when it is irregular can help. Through our Know Your Pulse programme, we are able to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect AF with a simple 30-second pulse check—it can save so many lives.”
AF affects >1.5 million people across the UK with up to 500,000 still unidentified, undiagnosed, and at high risk of an AF-related stroke. It can affect adults at any age, but is most commonly experienced by those in ≥65 years. Although AF itself is not a life-threatening condition, it can quickly evolve into life-threatening complications such as AF-related stroke and heart failure. AF-related strokes are known to be more devastating, debilitating and more fatal than any other type of stroke. Patients with AF have a five-fold higher risk of developing an AF-related stroke, and a two-fold risk of dying from an AF-related stroke. Early detection of AF could prevent the likelihood of an AF-related stroke or heart failure.
Using Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect could potentially save lives, says the statement from the AF Association. For more information regarding events, media kits and resources, please visit: www.gafaw.org and www.detectaf.org.