NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) is reminding people in the Rochdale borough that a quick and easy pulse check at their GP practice could cut their risk of stroke and save their life.
A pulse check is the easiest way to detect irregular heartbeat, known as Atrial Fibrillation (AF), a condition which is a major cause of stroke.
In the Rochdale borough in 2017/18 the number of people registered with a GP diagnosed with AF was 3,729. However, based on the evidence available it is estimated there are another 1,865 undiagnosed people in the area in need of preventative treatment for stroke.
To help identify AF in patients and ensure they are getting the most appropriate care, all GP practices in the Rochdale borough are now equipped with devices to assess patients' pulse rhythm and GPs can arrange opportunistic testing for anyone who thinks they may be at-risk. The test takes seconds to complete and the result is available instantly.
The chances of developing AF increases with age. High blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and a history of blood clots are also risk factors. Symptoms of AF include palpitations, tiredness, shortness of breath and dizziness. Some people have mild symptoms while others have no symptoms at all.
Dr Chris Duffy, Chair of HMR CCG and local GP said: "AF, or irregular heartbeat, increases stroke risk by around four to five times and left untreated the condition can have serious consequences including death or significant disability. That’s why it’s important for us to detect an irregular pulse as soon as possible.
“Early diagnosis of AF and appropriate medical management can help patients to avoid serious illness and lead healthier lives. I'd encourage anyone with concerns that their pulse doesn't follow a regular pattern or have any other issues with their pulse rhythm to get it checked at their GP practice."
For further information about Atrial Fibrillation visit the NHS.uk website here. For details of how to arrange a pulse rhythm check, please contact your GP practice.