Archive for the ‘Atrial Fibrillation’ Category
March 8, 2012
There are 53,000 deaths in the UK each year due to stroke* and many more who are affected and have to live with a significantly reduced quality of life.
A key cause of a stroke is atrial fibrillation (AF) a condition that is associated with a fast and irregular heart beat. Many will develop AF during the course of their life and those over 65 years are more prone**. In a bid to tackle the significant number of people affected by a stroke, doctors and experts alike are calling for an urgent screening programme to be put in place. Those with atrial fibrillation do not always display obvious symptoms and therefore goes untreated despite the fact that it can often be tackled effectively with blood thinning medication***.
Multiple screenings are fundamental to the proposed strategy, though even simple screenings such as routinely checking heart beat patterns and heading to the Doctors if an irregular heart beat is suspected, could saves many lives. It is important for each of us to be aware and recognise the warning signs of stroke in order to take action accordingly. F.A.S.T. is an easy-to-remember acronym from the NHS on what to look out for and what to do if you suspect that someone is having a stroke.
Face. Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
Arms. Can they raise both arms and keep them there?
Speech. Is their speech slurred?
Time. Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs
Strokes affect people from all walks of life, both men and women from varied cultures and now increasingly, a younger population of people need to consider their lifestyle.
Recently former England footballer Jimmy Greaves suffered a mini-stroke and we’re really pleased to hear that Jimmy is making a swift recovery, commenting that he was “fit as a butcher’s dog”, just weeks after the stroke and resulting operation****.
To read personal stories about some of those that Life Line Screening has helped in the past, please visit our testimonials page. Or, find out more about healthy living by visiting the Life Line Screening UK blog and meeting our team.
*The Stroke Association: Facts and figures about stroke http://www.stroke.org.uk/media_centre/facts_and_figures/index.html
**Herald Scotland: Simple screening that could save many lives
***Mail Online: Doctors call for urgent stroke screening programme in bid to prevent 2,000 deaths a year
****The Daily Mail: Jimmy Greaves in health scare after suffering a stroke and undergoing neck operation
January 25, 2012
Life Line Screening has come across a couple of interesting articles with some good advice about atrial fibrillation and the merits of keeping your toilet seat closed! Read on and if you find anything when searching the web be sure to share it with us on Facebook.
Atrial Fibrillation: 90% not getting the right anticoagulant treatments
The Los Angeles Times came to Life Line Screening UK’s attention recently with a report stating that heart attack survival rate has improved dramatically in recent years – however the older you get the more at risk you are for atrial fibrillation (Afib). More importantly, while Afib can be managed, 90% are not getting needed anticoagulants to prevent stroke or they are not being administered at appropriate levels.
This has led to new Afib recommendations, in the US at least, that include tools for doctors and patients to weigh their risks and benefits of taking needed drugs as well as making lifestyle habits that could lower the risk of stroke – which is caused by Afib in 30% of the stroke cases of adults 80 and over.
A Life Line tip: keep the toilet seat down!
Researchers from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust found that flushing hospital toilets with the lid up can spread life-threatening diseases. Closing the lid before you flush can help stop the spread of the winter vomiting bug (norovirus).
Even 90 minutes after flushing the deadly bacteria was still found on surfaces. Even “control” toothbrushes that were removed from the restroom during the flush by researchers contained bacteria. As the article points out, though, this was also a part of a 2004 episode of Myth Busters that concluded that the health risk is unimportant.
Dr. William Schaffner, Chair of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center finds the research quite interesting, however. This is because it seems to be linked with the number and severity of C. difficile infections. As such, Dr. Schaffner concludes that you really should remember to lower the lid before you flushing and to always wash your hands.
You may want to also keep your toothbrush at far away from the toilet as possible. Some suggest at least 6 feet!
August 15, 2011
In the UK atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) affects an estimated 800,000 people and although more commonplace in those over 65, it can affect those in their 40’s too.
A recent story from the Irish Independent highlighted the case of Theresa Bromley, a 40-year-old mother of three, who collapsed one morning after suffering a suspected stroke due to an irregular heartbeat.
Members of Theresa’s family have now been screened for irregular heartbeats with two of her sisters exhibiting signs. Both sisters are receiving medical advice on managing the problem.
Irregular heartbeats cause so many strokes each year because having one exhibits very few, if any, symptoms. As Dr. Collins writes:
“In most cases, people will not realise that their heart is doing this because it rarely causes any symptoms that you feel. It won’t make you feel breathless, it won’t cause chest pain and you won’t get a stroke immediately.”
However, by detecting irregular heartbeats earlier up to 4,000 strokes each year could be prevented (Stroke Association).
Remember, if you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, there is an easy way to remember the signs:
FACIAL weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
TIME to call 999.
We wish Theresa all the very best on her road to recovery.