Atrial Fibrillation a Common Heart Disorder
A volunteer carrying out the simple pulse check for AF
AF or ‘atrial fibrillation’ is the most common heart rhythm disorder, which occurs when chaotic electrical activity results in the heart pumping too fast, too slow or irregularly. It affects over one million people in the UK alone, and if left undiagnosed and untreated it can lead to serious complications including stroke, heart failure and even death.
Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke – AF is the single biggest risk factor for suffering a deadly or debilitating stroke. For individuals with the condition, the risk of suffering a stroke is increased by nearly 500%.
However, many of these devastating strokes can be prevented, as AF can be detected cheaply and easily with a manual pulse check. Read more
Endometriosis – An Uncommonly Recognised Condition
Aleks campaigning to raise awareness
Aleks Wells from Newbury, Berkshire suffers from a little known disease called endometriosis.
“I have endometriosis. It’s unlikely that you know what it is; despite the estimated one in 10 women potentially suffering from it, the awareness of the disease is still very low. And yet it’s had the most profound effect on my life.”
A Long and Difficult Diagnosis
Diagnosis can take years and can involve pelvic examinations and scans.
“Women with endometriosis grow endometrium – the tissue that normally lines the uterus and is designed to bleed during the monthly cycle – outside of it. When it happens, the blood can’t escape the body in the form of a period and is trapped inside the abdominal cavity. The resulting irritation and inflammation can lead to ovarian endometrial cysts as large as 15 cm in diameter and in advanced stages, adhesions where fibrous tissue causes internal organs to stick together. All that is potentially extremely painful. All that invisible. All that potentially harmful to the effective working of the female reproductive system.
“I was diagnosed with endometriosis in June 2014, after years of painful periods. 12 years after a misdiagnosis with “potentially, maybe” Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome; the doctor “couldn’t be sure”. 10 years after a correct diagnosis which was only ‘by the way’ and whose significance I didn’t understand. Throughout that time, the doctors repeatedly dismissed my painful periods and told me to simply “get on with it”. Mine is not an isolated case. A correct diagnosis can take years and even the NHS website warns about the difficulties caused by the nature of the symptoms.” Read more