On November 18th, AF Association launched Global AF Aware Week 2019, an annual awareness week dedicated to raising awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most commonly experienced arrhythmia, through our Detect, Protect, Correct, Perfect Campaign.
AF is an irregular, rapid heart rhythm that commonly causes symptoms such as heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. AF usually occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat out of rhythm. Approximately 6.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with AF, and this number is projected to increase to over 12 million people by 2030. AF can affect adults of any age, but is most commonly experienced by those in the 65 and over age range. Although AF itself is not a life-threatening condition, it can quickly evolve into truly life-threatening complications such as AF-related stroke and heart failure. AF-related strokes are known to be more devastating, debilitating, disabling, and are often fatal than any other type of stroke. AF patients have a 5-fold higher risk of developing an AF-related stroke and 2-fold risk of dying from an AF-related stroke. Early detection of AF and diagnosis could prevent the likelihood of an AF-related stroke or heart failure.
The key aim of AF Association Global AF Aware Week 2019 is to DETECT AF through our Know Your Pulse Program. There is currently no required program of pulse checks or heart rhythm screening at regular health check-ups. Something as simple as Knowing Your Pulse can save your life or reduce your risk of a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke – the most severe type of stroke. It only takes 30 seconds, and is so simple that people of all ages, young and old, can learn how to do it.
Dr. Hugh Calkins, Director of Electrophysiology Laboratory & Arrhythmia Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Arrhythmia Alliance Board Member, states that “Since Atrial Fibrillation affects over 33 million people worldwide, it is critical that there is a focus on detection and treatment of AF. Through the AF Association Global AF Aware Week, patients can be educated on the importance of knowing their heart rhythms and preventing potential medical complications like AF-related stroke, heart failure or even death.”
Trudie Lobban MBE, AF Association Founder and CEO, said, “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 recognizing when it is irregular can help. Through our Know Your Pulse program, we are able to Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect AF with a simple 30-second pulse check and thereby save lives.”
If you Detect, Protect, Correct and Perfect, you could potentially save a life and that life could very well be your own. For more information regarding events and resources, please visit: www.gafaw.org and www.detectaf.org.