Atrial fibrillation: how to recognize it and prevent heart attack and stroke

Per reduce the risk of stroke and heart attackwhich affect more and more women, it is essential to learn how to recognize the symptoms of atrial fibrillationasymptomatic in approximately 40% of patients (PubMed, Asymptomatic vs Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation). From this awareness was born the global awareness campaign that started today with the release of the documentary film The Sound of AFiblaunched by OMRON Healthcare, which in five minutes explains how to listen to your heart to identify atrial fibrillation and prevent it the risk of stroke.

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Atrial fibrillation, a non-infectious but global epidemic

It is known that cardiovascular diseases are still there leading cause of death worldwide and atrial fibrillation has long been considered a significant problem in the field of cardiovascular diseases. With the aging of the world population, the problem is even more pressing, so much so that it is considered aglobal health epidemic.

What is Atrial Fibrillation

«Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that is commonly misdiagnosed and often misunderstood. In this film, OMRON movingly explores how the universal language of music speaks to disease, to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation,” says Dr. Faizel Osman, professor of cardiology at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, who collaborated on the project. Atrial fibrillation is aalteration of the heart rhythm which affects the atria of the heart and which makes the heartbeat very rapid and irregular. It is the heart rhythm disorder most common worldwide and involves a five times greater risk of stroke.

40% of patients are asymptomatic

There are at least three types of atrial fibrillation: the paroxysmal type, the persistent type and the permanent type. However the diagnosis of this cardiac pathology it is often ignored, postponed and underestimated. Also because about 40% of patients with atrial fibrillation are asymptomatic. It means that these people may not show symptoms and are not aware of the risk they live with every day. For this reason, recognizing the symptoms of atrial fibrillation early is essential to prevent strokes.

The causes and symptoms of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation has various causes, including various heart diseases and sufferings, such as valvular heart disease and myocardial infarction, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, excessive consumption of alcohol. THE main symptoms they arise quickly and generally consist of heart palpitations (or palpitation), dizziness, chest pain and dyspnea. When atrial fibrillation is underway, the heartbeat varies in intensity and becomes irregular; furthermore, cardiac contractions become faster and increase in frequency. The presence of atrial fibrillation, therefore, involves an impairment of the contractile capacity (contractility) of the myocardium (the heart muscle). When you perceive these signs, it is essential to call 118 and describe what is happening. In any case, even if you have no symptoms, once a year it is advisable to undergo a cardiological examination.

Diagnosis and therapy

For the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, a cardiological evaluation and some simple tests are essential. Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, chest x-ray and blood tests. Therapy obviously depends on the form of atrial fibrillation and the causes. Failure to treat atrial fibrillation can result in complications such as stroke or heart failure.

The Sound of AFib: the video of Marie, 47 years old and 2 children, stroke survivor

The short film The Sound of AFib, the heart of the campaign promoted by OMRON Healthcare, tells in just five minutes the story of Marie, a 47-year-old woman, mother of two children, who survived a stroke caused by atrial fibrillation. A creative approach to raise awareness as many people as possible and involve them emotionally for motivate them to listen to their body’s signals.

In the documentary film, a patient with atrial fibrillation and a cardiologist are introduced to a composer, who creates a song inspired by Marie’s ECG. Through the “setting to music” the patient’s heart conditionwith notes, chords, pauses, accelerations and slowdowns, the pianist represents what atrial fibrillation does to the heart rhythm. Sounds and images that reach straight to Marie’s heart, it must be said, and motivate everyone towards prevention.

A powerful lesson in understanding what atrial fibrillation can do to your heart rhythm and how to listen to your heart to identify this high-risk condition.

The most common and least known heart disorder

«Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and the diagnosis of this dangerous conditionwhich involves a five times greater risk of strokehe comes often ignored. The irregular pattern of AF makes this condition difficult to detect. If the patient were able to identify the symptoms, this could make a difference. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor and OMRON made this film in terms of prevention,” adds Dr. Osman. (Source AHA Journals, Risks of Stroke and Mortality in Atrial Fibrillation).

How to learn to listen to your heart

“Knowing how to listen to your heart to identify atrial fibrillation is the first step in reducing your risk of stroke,” said Dr. Osman. «The second step is to use technology that can detect the condition when you feel your heart beating or palpitating. This means having the right medical equipment available always and everywhere, when the first symptoms are perceived or simply to be proactive.”

A blood pressure monitor with ECG

Being able to diagnose the cardiac situation as soon as possible during symptoms is essential for the prevention of stroke and heart attack. OMRON Healthcare has created a blood pressure monitor with a built-in ECG that captures essential data to help doctors diagnose atrial fibrillation and assess what to do next.

«Early detection of atrial fibrillation is critical to prevent arrhythmia-related strokes. By launching this global awareness campaign, we highlight the risks of atrial fibrillation and we recommend home ECG recordings» said Ayumu Okada, President and CEO of OMRON Healthcare. «We insist on our mission: Zero cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events. We are committed to contributing to global well-being by reducing the risks of brain and heart disease around the world.”

INFO. To watch The Sound of AFib and access free information about atrial fibrillation, visit the site