Raising awareness of heart condition

Pamela Ballantine takes the AF test with Hannah Williamson, senior health and wellbeing officer, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.
Pamela Ballantine takes the AF test with Hannah Williamson, senior health and wellbeing officer, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.

More than 2,400 people in Antrim and Newtownabbey are living with the heart condition atrial fibrillation, according to the Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke charity.

AF is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

NICHS, in partnership with local retailer MACE, has launched a new awareness campaign to highlight the major risk of stroke for people who have the condition which increases the risk of stroke by five times.

Research carried out by NICHS found that 70 per cent of people surveyed were unaware of AF.

Anyone can have AF, but those most susceptible tend to be over 50, have diabetes, hyper-tension, or high blood pressure. Both men and women are just as likely to have the condition.

Anyone who thinks they might have the symptoms should take the AF on-the-spot test at an NICHS ‘Well-Check’ or contact their GP.

Fidelma Carter, Public Health Director, at NICHS said: “The fact that seven out of ten of us have never heard of Atrial Fibrillation is cause for concern.

“We encourage everyone to find out more about AF and most importantly to book in for a Well Check with us. The test for AF only takes a minute and involves simply placing your fingers on a small pad. If you know someone who is older and diabetic – ask them if they have ever heard of AF – you could save their life.”

Claire Rea, Assistant Brand Manager, at MACE commented: “We’re delighted at MACE to support NICHS in raising awareness of Atrial Fibrillation. We would encourage everyone to take the AF test, and to keep an eye out for fundraising events for NICHS at your local MACE store.”

Find out more about Atrial Fibrillation at Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s website at www.nichs.org.uk