What are the signs that I might have uncontrolled AF?

There are a number of factors that put you at a higher risk for AF-related stroke, these include:

  • If you have symptoms of AF but are undiagnosed
  • If you are diagnosed with AF but are not taking an anticoagulant medication
  • If you regularly have to change your dose of anticoagulant medication, this may be a sign that the symptoms are not properly controlled and an alternative treatment should be explored with your doctor
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These are the signs and symptoms of AF that I tell my patients to look out for…

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An irregular heartbeat

(a feeling that the heart is pounding or fluttering)

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Dizziness

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Tiredness and high levels of fatigue

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Shortness of breath

On the other hand, some people with AF might not experience any symptoms at all, so it is really important that you don’t skip regular check-ups with your doctor, particularly as you get older. The NHS Health Check is an ideal time to get your heart health checked, and should be available every five years for those aged between 40 and 74.

How can I check if my heartbeat is irregular?

  • Extend one of your hands out, palm facing up
  • Use the index/first finger and middle finger of your other hand and place the tips of these fingers on the inside of your wrist
  • You should place them at the base of your thumb near where the strap of a watch would sit
  • Press lightly and feel the pulse. If you can’t feel anything you may press slightly harder or move your fingers around until you feel your pulse
  • Once you’ve found your pulse, continue to feel it for about 20-30 seconds. Feel the rhythm of the pulse and check if it’s steady or irregular
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20-30 seconds

Feel the rhythm of the pulse and check if it’s steady or irregular

If you’re unsure please speak to your doctor or nurse.