More Than A Million UK Citizens Affected By Atrial Fibrillation

Posted on January 31, 2014

Sometimes you need a large number in a report to pay attention to what is being said. No matter how serious the condition is or how badly it can affect people, there is a need for the size of the problem to be stated before too many people will start to pay attention to it. This is definitely the case with atrial fibrillation, which can cause considerable problems for people around the world. The condition is known to cause the heart to stutter and it can also lead to people to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. In the United Kingdom, it is believed that this condition now affects more than 1 million people.

People who suffer from this condition are known to sometimes experience a heart rate that is faster than normal. Some of the other effects of the condition include feeling dizzy, feeling breathless, suffering from palpitations and feeling tired. There is also the chance that the sufferer will have an irregular heartbeat. Some people are also asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms at all. Many people can be completely unaware of the fact that they have the condition until it becomes a serious issue.

When atrial fibrillation is left untreated, it can have extremely serious consequences. The disease has been known to greatly increase the likelihood of someone suffering a blood clot inside their heart. This is of great importance because when this occurs, it increases the likelihood of someone suffering a stroke by five times. This means it is crucial for people to find out about this condition as soon as they possibly can.

This condition is becoming increasingly common

Another great concern is the fact that the illness appears to be becoming increasingly common. The British Heart Foundation (the BHF) has reported that the rates of this illness have increased by 20% over the past 5 years. The organisation has also stated that this condition has been responsible for over 22,500 strokes in a single year in the United Kingdom.

There have been a number of factors cited for the increase of this condition. Some of the issues that are linked to the condition include high blood pressure and heart valve disease. For most people, the citing of binge drinking will be a concern and this may impact on the way that people live their lives. As well as these issues, the fact that people are now living longer has also been linked as a possible influence on this condition. All of these symptoms and issues will no doubt cause people to be worried but it is important that there is an increase in awareness and the impact it is having.

The Chief Executive of the BHF, Simon Gillespie, spoke on behalf of the organisation and he said that a lot more research into the condition was vital. He said; “The real danger with atrial fibrillation is that some people don’t realise they have it. You can be going about your daily routine oblivious to the fact you’re five times more likely to have a devastating stroke.”

The importance of increasing awareness about the condition was reiterated by Professor Nicholas Peters. Professor Peters is currently a consultant cardiologist with the Imperial College Healthcare and he spoke to the media, saying; “The incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) increases dramatically with age so an ageing population, along with better awareness and diagnosis, are the main reasons for the rise in the number of people known to have it. In addition, improvements in the treatment of other causes of heart disease means that more of these patients survive to get atrial fibrillation. We have a research programme, funded principally by British Heart Foundation, focused on helping large numbers of patients by combating this important medical challenge.”

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