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Atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke are both serious conditions affecting millions of people across the Middle East. Every year, about 12 million people throughout the world die of a heart attack or a stroke, with arterial fibrillation the suspected cause of up to 20 per cent of strokes.
Trudie Lobban, founder and CEO of the AF Association tells us what signs and symptoms we should be aware of.
What is AF?
AF is a type of arrhythmia [irregular heart rhythm]. The four chambers of the heart, which normally beat in rhythm, lose the ability to do so. The heart rhythm becomes erratic – sometimes fast, sometimes slow. When this happens, the blood does not flow smoothly through the heart. A clot may form and break away, travelling to the brain to cause an AF-related stroke.
What types of therapies are available for AF patients?
Once AF is diagnosed, anti-coagulation therapy may be recommended. While anticoagulation therapy is not a treatment for AF, it does however greatly reduce the risk of an AF-related stroke. You should discuss treatment options to manage AF with your healthcare professional.
What advice would you give to patients recently diagnosed with AF?
Millions of people worldwide are living with AF and with the right information and an informed discussion with your healthcare professional, you too can learn to live with AF and reduce the risk of AF-related stroke with appropriate anti-coagulation therapy and manage the symptoms of AF with access to available treatments. Make contact with organisations such as AF Association (heartrhythmalliance.org) who will have a wealth of information for you, your loved ones and your healthcare professional.