More than one-in-four (26 per cent) men and women over the age 50 have not heard of atrial fibrillation, according to research published by BMJ.

One million people in the UK live with the heart rhythm disturbance, and once detected, treatment can reduce the risk of stroke by 67 per cent. However, 56 per cent of over 50s questioned in the study were also not that aware AF could be treated to significantly reduce the risk of a stroke.

Boots UK has highlighted the research as it launches an advanced blood pressure monitor that can detect atrial fibrillation for sale to the public. The launch follows guidance from NICE in January that using an AFIB monitor could increase the detection rate of atrial fibrillation allowing for preventative treatment to be given.

“Community pharmacists can play an important role in helping to identify atrial fibrillation and advising those patients on the risks associated with the condition,” said Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots UK.

“By making healthcare advice even more accessible for our customers, we aim to empower individuals to have a greater insight into their health. Our complete care model offers a holistic approach to managing a customer’s needs across multiple personal factors incorporating a person’s lifestyle, personal preferences and medical history, as well as the conditions they have and treatments they are taking to address them.”

Trudie Lobban MBE, founder and ceo of the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA) believes it is very encouraging to see an organisation such as Boots UK working to raise awareness. “These devices can detect dangerous heart conditions, are backed by the medical health watchdog and can save lives,” she said.

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