HEALTH NEWS

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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.

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