Quick facts to remember

Who?

Atrial fibrillation tends to affect older people (60 and above) but can also affect anyone at any age.1

What?

AF can increase the risk of stroke by six times.1 Stroke caused by atrial fibrillation is more likely to cause death and disability than other types of stroke.1 Stroke can leave sufferers with life-changing symptoms, including problems with movement and co-ordination, speech, vision and cognition.1,2,3,6

Why

Atrial fibrillation is caused by factors including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, diet, lifestyle and genetic predisposition.1

Atrial fibrillation causes an irregular (and sometimes abnormally fast) heartbeat, which can slow down the flow of blood through the heart and arteries, leading to blood clots. As blood clots travel through smaller arteries in the body they may cause blockages, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching tissues. If a blockage occurs in the brain it can restrict blood flow, triggering a stroke.1

References:
  1. 1. Atrial Fibrillation Association & Anticoagulation Europe (UK). The AF Report. 2012. Available at: http://www.preventaf-strokecrisis.org/files/files/The%20AF%20Report%2014%20April%202012.pdf. [Last accessed October 2016]
  2. 2. ABPI Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation Initiative (SAFI). One Year On: Why are patients still having unnecessary AF-related strokes? 2016. Available at: http://www.abpi.org.uk/media-centre/newsreleases/2016/Documents/Embargo9May_ABPI_OneYearOn_FINALREPORT.pdf. [Last accessed October 2016]
  3. 3. British Heart Foundation. Atrial fibrillation booklet. 2015. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/heart-conditions/atrial-fibrillation. [Last accessed October 2016]
  4. 6. Stroke Alliance For Europe. The Burden of Stroke White Paper. 2007. Available at: http://www.safestroke.eu/files/2313/8641/8736/FINAL_Burden_of_Stroke.pdf. [Last accessed October 2016]