Date: March 31st, 2015
February is known for groundhogs, presidents, Valentine’s Day, and for those of us here in Washington, D.C., cold and snow.
February also has the distinction of being American Heart Month, a time to focus on the importance of heart health. During this month, the Alliance raised awareness about atrial fibrillation with the launch of its Living with AFib campaign.
AFib, short for atrial fibrillation, is the most common type of arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm, and can lead to stroke and heart-related conditions. It represents a threat to seniors—It becomes increasingly common with age.
Here’s a sobering fact about AFib. This condition often goes undetected, since it can occur without any noticeable symptoms. In fact, a recent survey the Alliance conducted of people ages 65 and over with AFib revealed that 45 percent of respondents did not experience symptoms significant enough to report. They instead were diagnosed at a regular office visit or when they went to a medical appointment for something else.
Because not all people with AFib experience symptoms, it makes having your pulse and heartbeat checked regularly by your health care professional especially important. Being proactive also means giving yourself the opportunity to learn more about the condition, so you have the knowledge about signs, symptoms, and treatment options.
It’s with education in mind that the Alliance launched its campaign in February, according to Vice President of Health Programs Lindsay Clarke.
“Atrial fibrillation is not often talked about beyond the commercials we all see on TV. Yet, one in 25 Americans age 60 and over has AFib, and those diagnosed with it are five times more likely to have a stroke,” says Clarke. “The survey we conducted reveals that the majority of seniors living with AFib did their own research after diagnosis or during treatment. This means that there needs to be quality information available. In honor of American Heart Month, we launched our Living with AFib educational campaign. The Alliance’s Living with AFib campaign has free resources that give a comprehensive overview of the disease, and emphasize that with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can live a healthy life with AFib.”
These resources include:
Two animated “pocket films” that offer visual info: Living with Atrial Fibrillation, a synopsis of the disease, and Preventing Stroke from Atrial Fibrillation, a guide on how patients can balance stroke risk and the potential of complications from anticoagulation. (Note: Spanish versions of the films are also available.)