Originally published May 19, 2023 9:07 am PDT
In an alarming revelation, recent data indicates that the number of individuals diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder, has surged by 50% over the past decade in the United Kingdom.
Consequently, the figure has crossed the 1.5 million mark for the first time.
Atrial fibrillation, known as the most prevalent abnormal heart rhythm condition, heightens the risk of stroke by fivefold, making the increase a significant health concern.
The disorder is responsible for one in every five strokes.
The new statistics show that 1 out of 45 individuals in the UK are living with atrial fibrillation, up from 1 million in 2013.
An estimated 270,000 potential cases remain undiagnosed.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, the Medical Director of our organization, expressed his concern.
“These figures show a quite astonishing rise in the number of people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation,” he said. “Research has helped us understand the links between atrial fibrillation and stroke and that has spurred the efforts we have seen in recent years to identify people with this potentially dangerous heart rhythm.”
Samani highlighted the grave issue of those unaware of their condition and, thus, the associated stroke risk, saying, “Finding people with this hidden threat must remain a priority. We also need to continue to harness the power of science to develop new and innovative tools for identifying people at increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation.”
Atrial fibrillation often presents symptoms like palpitations, breathlessness, and dizziness, but many individuals experience no symptoms, leading to a lack of awareness about their condition, treatment options, and elevated stroke risk.
Furthermore, the intermittent nature of the condition makes detection challenging.
In light of these alarming statistics, the British Heart Foundation is initiating a new campaign to raise awareness and support research into cardiovascular diseases.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the connection between COVID-19 vaccination and heart diseases such as myocarditis and pericarditis.
Moreover, one of the potentially serious side effects of COVID vaccination is acute ischemic stroke, according to a publication in Journal of the Neurological Sciences.
As of 22 February 2023, an estimated 40,622,659 people had received their third dose and/or at least one booster dose in the U.K., according to government figures.