Local health chiefs are asking the Vale of York community to tune in to their own beat this week to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF), one of the most common heart rhythm problems and a major cause of stroke.
Dr Nigel Wells, a local GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s is raising awareness of the Healthy Hearts programme – a local project that aims to reduce the number of people that die prematurely from heart disease or other circulatory disease – by at least 10% in the next five years.
More than a quarter of all deaths in England in 2017 were caused by cardiovascular diseases with coronary heart disease and stroke accounting for the majority of those deaths and this is why the Vale of York Healthy Hearts focuses on three main areas - reducing cholesterol, detecting high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
Dr. Nigel Wells said: “Circulatory disease is one of the main causes of death in the Vale of York, with more than 880 deaths each year and that is why one of the CCG’s main priorities is to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attack and stroke.
“Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. An irregular pulse is a sign that you may have AF but some people have no symptoms at all so they are completely unaware that they have the condition.”
More than 46,000 people in the Vale of York are affected by high blood pressure, but around 34,000 people are undiagnosed; 7,000 people have an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and more than 6,000 people have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke.
Dr. Wells added: "But once it is diagnosed it is very simple to treat with most cases simply requiring medication that could prevent a stroke.
“Taking just five minutes to measure your blood pressure and check your pulse could save your life so I am encouraging everyone, regardless of their age, to log on to www.valeofyorkhealthyhearts.co.uk and check to see if they are at risk of high blood pressure. The website provides tons of information about how prevent high blood pressure and how to get it checked.”
Heart Rhythm Week runs from 3 to 9 June 2019.