‘Know your pulse’ is the message from local doctors aiming to reduce the risk of stroke amongst Blackpool residents.

The message comes as part of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Awareness Week which is being backed by NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group. Circulatory disease, such as heart attacks and stroke, are responsible for approximately 32 per cent of all deaths in Blackpool.

AF is a common heart rhythm disturbance which affects an estimated 1.5million people across the UK. If left untreated, it can significantly increase the risk of a deadly or debilitating stroke – every 15 seconds somebody suffers an AF-related stroke.

AF causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate which in some cases can be considerably higher than 100 beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate should be regular between 60-100 beats per minute. However, there are good reasons why your pulse may be slower or faster such as age, medications, caffeine intake, levels of fitness, existing heart conditions or stress and anxiety. It is important though to discuss any concerns with your GP.

Common symptoms of AF include dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness but it is often the case that a person with AF has no symptoms at all and is completely unaware that their heart rate has a dangerous irregularity.

A simple pulse check is the easiest way to detect an irregular heart rhythm with your wrist being one of the best places to feel your pulse.

Dr Amanda Doyle, a local GP and Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If your pulse seems to be either racing or slow for most of the time and you generally feel unwell then you should contact your GP. You should also contact your GP if your pulse feels irregular, like it is jumping around.

“Atrial Fibrillation greatly increases your risk of having a stroke, so it is important that it is detected as early as possible and treated appropriately.”


Notes to editors:

For further information about this press release please call the communications team at NHS Blackpool CCG on 01253 956594.