what's af

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION IS A VERY COMMON CHRONIC DISEASE BUT HARD TO DETECT

WHAT IS ATRIAL FIBRILLATION (AF)?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm. In a normal heart, the four chambers of the heartbeat in a steady, rhythmic pattern. With AF, the atria (upper chambers of the heart) fibrillate (quiver or twitch quickly) and create an irregular rhythm.

This irregular heart rhythm can lead to symptoms that negatively impact the quality of life in some people. Others experience no symptoms at all. AF itself is not life-threatening. If left untreated, however, the side effects of AF can be life-threatening, leading to stroke or heart failure. This makes identifying and treating AF so important.

AF increases a person’s risk for stroke by four to five times compared with stroke risk for people who do not have AF. Strokes caused by complications from AF tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes. AF causes 15%~20% of ischemic strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot or by fatty deposits called plaque in the blood vessel lining. More than 750,000 hospitalizations occur each year because of AF. The condition contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year. The death rate from AF as the primary or a contributing cause of death has been rising for more than two decades.

AF PATIENTS HAVE

5 TIMES

GREATER RISK FOR STROKE

[Source : Atrial Fibrillation Fact Sheet]

[Source : Stroke Prevention in Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation]

silent danger of atrial fibrilation

AF increases a person’s risk for stroke by four to five times compared with stroke risk for people who do not have AF. Strokes caused by complications from AF tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes. AF causes 15%–20% of ischemic strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot or by fatty deposits called plaque in the blood vessel lining. More than 750,000 hospitalizations occur each year because of AF. The condition contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year. The death rate from AF as the primary or a contributing cause of death has been rising for more than two decades.

[Source : The AF Report; Atrial Fibrillation: Preventing A stroke Crisis, AFA]

1 in 2

    PEOPLE WITH AF

    ARE UNDIAGNOSED

potential threat to public health

Independent of this increase in the prevalence of AF over time in our society, the number of people with AF have been shown to double with each advancing decade of age, from 0.5% at age 50-59 years to almost 9% at age 80-89 years. Not surprisingly, the incidence of AF also increases with age, contributing to the growing prevalence. Among many damaging and debilitating consequences, AF increases an individual’s risk of suffering a stroke by five times. This effect alone results in considerable disability and death, not to mention avoidable millions in healthcare expenditure that the National Health Service (NHS) cannot afford.

 

For example, in patients with AF, who are known to have a high risk of stroke, the cost of treating a stroke has been calculated to be almost four times greater than the cost of prevention with ten years’ anticlotting therapy.

Stroke accounts for a massive burden on patients, their carers, families, friends, and society. This burden falls disproportionately on the elderly, who are most at risk. Early diagnosis and effective management of Atrial fibrillation would help to reduce the burden of stroke. 

Furthermore, the prevention of stroke with existing, cost-effective therapies in patients at high risk has the potential to reduce this huge economic burden significantly. With both AF prevalence and AF death rates increasing, there is an urgent need to improve the management of AF, in particular, to prevent the most common fatal consequences, such as stroke.

NUMBER OF PATIENTS WITH

AF WILL BE DOUBLED BY

[Source : Stroke Prevention in Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation]

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