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Atrial fibrillation goes unnoticed in over 65s

Atrial fibrillation goes unnoticed in over 65s
27th October 2011

Some 67 per cent of people aged 65 and over are unable to recognise atrial fibrillation, according to a new survey.

Approximately two-thirds of older adults cannot recognise the form of irregular heartbeat that is a warning sign of stroke, a study by the Stroke Association has revealed.

Steve Benveniste, campaigns officer at the Stroke Association, stated: "Atrial fibrillation increases your risk of stroke by up to five times and around 12,500 strokes a year are thought to be directly linked to the condition."

Atrial Fibrillation causes a fast and irregular heart beat in patients, usually over 140 beats a minute.

Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, light headedness, fainting or fatigue are also signs of the syndrome.

Researchers believe that atrial fibrillation is the cause of cryptogenic stroke - undetermined stroke.

The condition is caused when the heart's upper chamber quivers rather than beats, allowing blood to stay in the chamber and potentially clot. If the clot travels to the brain, a stroke is imminent.

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