An Irregular Heartbeat Causes an Increased Risk of Stroke

November 12, 2012

An Irregular Heartbeat Causes an Increased Risk of Stroke

The American Heart Association (AHA), in a recently released report, say that survey results indicate that of the 2.7 million people in the U.S. with an irregular heartbeat, 50% are unaware of the risks such a condition carries. The irregular heartbeat condition is also known as atrial fibrillation and is reported to increase the risk of stroke.

The survey looked at 502 individuals who have atrial fibrillation. Many people are unaware that this condition is the third biggest killer in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Yet in the survey only 8% considered having a stroke as their highest health risk. Another 25% actually indicated that they did not perceive themselves to be at risk of a stroke and a further 25% said they were oblivious of any stroke related risk.

The survey found some areas for concern because only 66% of the respondents were given any information regarding increased risk of stroke from their doctors. Out of that 66% of people, 21% said that their doctors told them that they had no increased risk of stroke.

Dr. Mark Estes III, professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, acknowledges that in some areas we are lacking in expertise when he says, “While there’s a lot known about atrial fibrillation, there’s a lot unknown as well. The American Heart Association’s goal for atrial fibrillation is to bridge those knowledge gaps through research and education”.

He then explains that it is only by increasing our understanding of the situation that people can understand the risk. The follow on to this will be more effective treatment leading to the reduction of atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation related strokes. In conclusion Estes gives some sound advice, and says, “Patients need to be aware of this risk and have serious conversations with their health care providers about what they should be doing to prevent stroke”.

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