In this story: Heart health /

"I had to come to terms with the fact that I had a potentially serious heart defect"

“My first experience of learning I might have some form of heart disorder came in 2009 when attending a routine eye test. The concerned optician found evidence of bleeding. First thing the next morning I was seen by an ophthalmic consultant who confirmed a fine blood vessel behind my eye had ruptured.

Six weeks later I visited a retirement show and was offered a blood pressure check. The result was alarming, and I was pressed to make a GP appointment. It appeared that a blood clot had formed and was travelling round my system and due to high blood pressure had burst, releasing the clot before it travelled further which might have had serious consequences. I started medication that I would take for life.

My next milestone occurred in 2014 when at the GP. I expressed that my heart would never let me down as it could beat strongly and violently in my chest. I was firmly told should that happen again I must call for help. I did this and the GP told me he had called an ambulance to take me to hospital with suspected atrial fibrillation (AF). This is where my mind went into overdrive and worry began due to the unknown.

I had to come to terms with the fact that I had a potentially serious heart defect that is associated with one in five strokes. That really brought things home.

I have been involved in various campaigns with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland to raise awareness among others. I will not tire of making my appeals to the public with the knowledge that in Scotland more than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and it is estimated that there are thousands more living with undiagnosed AF. When I’m seen in the local papers some people will pull me aside and ask what this atrial fibrillation ‘thing’ is all about. That type of impromptu conversation can have enormous value.

I would urge anyone with symptoms to not delay, request an appointment. You might be alright, but you might also be prescribed something at an early stage which could allow you to live a life of greater happiness.”

For more information on atrial fibrillation, please visit the BHF website (this link will take you away from our website)

End of page.