STRANGFORD DUP MLA Simon Hamilton has offered his support to the Stroke Association’s Atrial Fibrillation awareness campaign during a visit by the Association to Stormont.
Commenting after having his pulse and blood pressure checked by the Stroke Association, Simon Hamilton said, “Strokes are a major killer in Northern Ireland every year yet awareness of the signs of a stroke is limited. I am grateful to the Stroke Association for coming to Stormont and taking the pulses and checking the blood pressure of MLAs to highlight the need for greater consciousness of atrial fibrillation in particular.
“I’m glad to say my blood pressure and pulse were perfectly normal but each and every year, strokes are Northern Ireland’s leading cause of disability and are the third highest cause of death. Atrial fibrillation is a kind of irregular heartbeat which accounts for over 1 in 5 of all stroke admissions in Northern Ireland.
“Because of the irregularity of the heartbeat, a sufferer’s heart may not have the time to relax and empty itself of blood properly before filling up again. Consequently, the blood does not move quickly and smoothly and clots can form which, if they travel towards the brain, can result in a stroke.
“I think that it is important that we are aware of the existence of conditions like atrial fibrillation and the harm strokes can do. Getting your blood pressure and pulse checked regularly is vital.
“Also, I hope that the Stroke Association’s campaign encourages people to ask their GP about how they can reduce their own stroke risk and get their pulse and blood pressure checked out”.