AN IRREGULAR heartbeat is known to dramatically increase the risk of stroke and residents are urged to take advantage of free testing at Gympie Hospital to check their health.
The initiative runs on Tuesday, September 19 from 10am-2pm as part of AF (atrial fibrillation) Awareness Week from September 18-24.
It was developed in response to the finding that up to 30 per cent of the 460,000 Australians with atrial fibrillation are undiagnosed - despite a simple pulse test being able to detect the condition.
A new White Paper released by hearts4heart identifies AF as the cause for 6000 strokes every year, with one-in-four of these occurring in people who are undiagnosed and therefore unable to take preventative measures. Left untreated, an irregular heartbeat can cause blood to pool in a chamber of the heart and form a clot that can travel to the brain, causing a devastating stroke.
Tanya Hall, CEO of hearts4heart, is urging residents, particularly those aged over 65 years or with existing heart conditions, to take advantage of the free stations or make an appointment with their doctor.
While a healthy heart generally beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, AF may cause this to increase to more than 400 beats per minute.