AF & Stroke Family History

Hi,

I am 52 and have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure. I have a strong family history of AF and stroke so I was naturally quite concerned about my health. I decided to get a bit more control of my health and made some lifestyle changes and now monitor my bp at home regularly. I am trying to avoid medication if i can. It did prompt me to also start researching these conditions and afib can be treated and dealt with if detected!!! This could massively reduce the risk of stroke!! So I had a look at nice guidelines and found this... nice.org.uk/guidance/mtg13 It is an article recommending a particular blood pressure monitor that is clinically validated to opportunistically screens for afib. I couldn't believe when I found it, that it wasn't more widely used!!! I was so impressed that I have actually purchased this monitor now from a site called homegp.com, (i think it's .com) It has given me a bit more peace of mind :) I hope you find the article helpful and spread the word that detection of afib is key!

8 Replies

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  • I assume you mean this device is useful for those who are yet to be diagnosed with AF as opposed to most of the people on this forum who are here because we KNOW we have AF? It doesn't actually predict an AF attack .... just the possibility of the person having AF in the first place. As long as you monitor very regularly.

    Sorry I don't mean to rain on your parade about this device however I don't understand it's usefulness for people who already have AF and are being treated?

    And for me, I know when I am about to have AF attack - the signals are loud and clear :)

  • Hi Dave 1961, yes that is right, it is NOT to detect an attack. It is for screening. Unfortunately not everyone gets symptoms or even knows they have got AF. The reason for me mentioning it on here is because my mum has AF, and family history is a risk factor. So I think the information is really helpful for people like me who are concerned and want to be pro active, I'm sure lots of families and people like me use this forum too. If it helps only one person, it has still helped :)

    Thank you for your reply and clarifying some additional facts :)

  • I presume in view of your family history that you have already discussed the importance of anticoagulation and stroke prevention with your doctor.

    Regarding diagnosis of AF there is an excellent device called Alivecor which links to an i phone , i pad or tablet which gives a valid ecg trace which can be preserved to show to doctors if you think that you may be having events which have not been picked up in surgery. With your history again you need to be very proactive and make sure that you do not risk stroke from ignorance.

    Bob

  • Thanks for that sarcle .... and yep, I agree, if it helps one person it is great. It is one thing if a person is in permanent/persistent AF and quite another if you are in paroxysmal AF and are also blessed with being asymptomatic !! Not everyone has an iPhone or indeed an Android phone ( which can now take Alivecor, but only certain Android phones at that) both great for getting a fix on AF, you can get Apps which monitor heart rate but they are of limited value, i.e. they can't take blood pressure. For me, events that led to a diagnosis of AF (within 9 hours of onset) in the first place came from wild, crazy and totally erratic blood pressure with shedloads of error messages on my home digital BP monitor. I use diet to control my AF and have done so successfully for some 5 years, but, sometimes I inadvertently eat something which disagrees, then I bloat like crazy and the pain is certainly significant ( I feel crap like I did the day AF hit) and my blood pressure goes through the roof, like from a fairly normal 125/70 to 160/90 and it will stay there for anything from several hours to several days. Now for me that would be very meaningful if I could take my BP AND get an indication of whether I went into AF during this BP change process. Actually, I wonder if the speed of the change in BP is more of an issue than the highest reading itself. For now at least I'll stay put, but, if things change at least it is good to know there is now something available. Thanks again.

    John

  • What you could do is to buy an old iPhone (say 4) which would be fairly cheap or see if someone has an old one lying around. Some second hand chains give a 1 year guarantee on second hand phones. Then you can buy the AliveCor. This wasn't my idea - it was someone's on the local Facebook Network who asked about a phone to hook up for an elderly grandparents.

  • That's interesting, thank you for letting us know. If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost?

  • Hey, I'm glad you found it interesting :) it was about £50 and that was the mid range one, they do a full range I think, so there is a cheaper one and more expensive ones. The site I got it from was really helpful and informative. :)

  • I bought one of those. It didn't work, assume it was faulty, wouldn't do a thing. So I sent it back for a refund instead of a replacement. I've got a BP monitor which I know works and cost me about £15, and also an Alivecor for my iPhone.

    K

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