Heart Foundation’s Kit Cohr, right, helps Di Mazey to check her pulse. PHOTO/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI

SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI
soumya.bhamidipati@age.co.nz

A Heart Foundation checkpoint set up at Wairarapa Hospital on Monday made sure residents didn’t miss a beat.

The aim of the checkpoint was to help people learn about atrial fibrillation.

Wairarapa Heart Health Advocate Kit Cohr said while most people knew about heart issues such as cholesterol, which she described as the heart’s plumbing system, there was less awareness about AF.

“It’s the electrical signals,” she said.

“We’re checking pulses and encouraging people to learn how to check their own pulses.”

It was important to look out for heartbeats which were fast, slow, or irregular. Otherwise, blood could pool and clot in the heart, and the clots may then move to other parts of the body, including the brain.

“It you have AF, then it’s a risk factor for stroke.”

A heartrate from 60 to 100 beats per minute was within normal range.

This was the second year the checkpoint had been held. Of about 25 people who had their pulses check last year, about six had irregular heart pulses.

While more people who had dropped in last year were aged over 70, this year’s stand was attracting more people from people aged 50-69.

Raising awareness of AF was important because it was becoming a more common problem, Cohr said.

“It’s an increasing one because AF has an increasing risk factor with age, and we have an ageing population.”

AF could also come and go, which is why it was essential to teach people how to check their own pulse, she said.

“We use three, two, one – three fingers, twice a day, once a week.”

To check a pulse, three fingers were placed over the inside of the wrist, resting the fingers at the base of the thumb.

Once a pulse was felt, each beat in a 30-second period was counted.

The number was then doubled to provide the heart rate per minute.



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