MACE supports NICHS in launching Atrial Fibrillation campaign

Thursday 23rd May 2019

Local Charity, Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (NICHS), in partnership with MACE, have launched a new awareness campaign - highlighting the major risk of stroke for people who have Atrial Fibrillation, or AF, which increases your risk of a stroke by five times.

AF is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

Almost 40,000 people have already been diagnosed in Northern Ireland but, according to NICHS, there could be thousands more living with the condition undetected.

Research carried out by NICHS found that 70% of people surveyed did not know what AF was. Equally concerning was the fact that only 30 people in every 1000 know that it can increase your risk of stroke by five times.

This awareness campaign, is aimed at educating the public around what AF is, its links to stroke, and prompting anyone who thinks they might have the symptoms, to take AF on-the-spot-testing at an NICHS ‘Well-Check” or contact their GP.

Anyone can have AF, but the people most susceptible tend to be over 50, have diabetes, hyper-tension, or high blood pressure. Both men and women are just as likely to have the condition - so it’s important that anyone knows they can take a simple test to find out. If you are found to have the condition it may be possible to hugely reduce the risk of stroke through medication.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, took the AF test as part of the launch at Belfast City Hall today: “AF is a little-known condition and NICHS is making massive strides in highlighting its existence, and promoting the test for AF to thousands of people. It’s so important to look after our health and well-being, so especially if you are over 50 and have diabetes, take a moment to find out today to learn more about the signs of AF”.

Fidelma Carter, Public Health Director, at NICHS said the campaign was needed now more than ever: “The fact that 7 out of 10 of us have never heard of Atrial Fibrillation is cause for concern. We encourage everyone to find out more about AF and most importantly to book in for a Well Check with us. The test for AF only takes a minute and involves simply placing two fingers on a small pad. If you know someone who is older and diabetic - ask them if they have ever heard of AF - you could save their life.”

Claire Rea, Assistant Brand Manager, MACE commented: “We’re delighted at MACE to support NICHS in raising awareness of Atrial Fibrillation. We would encourage everyone to take the AF test, and to keep an eye out for fundraising events for NICHS at your local MACE store.”

Find out more about Atrial Fibrillation at Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s website, www.nichs.org.uk