Atrial Fibrillation hasn’t affected my life

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   30th Nov 2018

Les Carroll from Dublin talks about his experience of artrial fibrillation

As part of our ‘Prevent a Stroke: Feel the Pulse’ campaign, we spoke with Les Carroll who was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation by accident.

Les (63) from Templeogue, Dublin, is a Coordinator for the Irish Heart Foundation’s Stroke Survivors Support Groups in Tallaght and Crumlin, he also has atrial fibrillation.

With atrial fibrillation (sometimes called A Fib) your heart beats in a disorganised and irregular way which can lead to a range of symptoms and potential complications, including stroke, permanent heart damage and heart failure.

If you have atrial fibrillation and are not treated, you are five times more likely to have a stroke. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, with one in four people over the age of 50 at risk of developing it.

Les said his difficulties started about thirty years ago with occasional fainting spells however, when the fainting began to occur more regularly about ten years ago, he sought medical help.

According to Les, “It started about 30 years ago when I would wake up in the morning and occasionally faint, waking up on the bathroom floor not knowing what happened. I didn’t think much of it as it only happened about once a year. Then about eight or ten years ago it happened a couple of times in one month. That’s when my family marched me to the doctor’s office.”

Les said he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) by accident.

“I was diagnosed with AF by accident, I had lots of tests done and monitors fitted to figure out why I was fainting, and by chance an irregular heartbeat was detected, purely coincidental and completely unrelated. The fainting turned out to be related to blood pressure (jumping out of bed too quickly).

“If someone told me they had been diagnosed with AF I would want to reassure them that it hasn’t affected my life. I still do all the things I love to do,"

Les Carroll, living with atrial fibrillation

“When I was told that I had AF, I didn’t regard it as that big of a deal, I knew it was something that could be managed and looked after. I haven’t had to change my lifestyle, I still exercise and play golf. I don’t have to make any dietary changes.”

Finally, Les said he wanted to reassure anyone who has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation that it has not affected his life in any way and he continues to work with the Irish Heart Foundation’s Stroke Survivors Support Groups.

“If someone told me they had been diagnosed with AF I would want to reassure them that it hasn’t affected my life. I still do all the things I love to do, it doesn’t affect me day to day. I still work as a coordinator for two Stroke Survivors Support Groups and I have to say it’s the best job in the world and it gives me immense satisfaction.”

The good news is that with early diagnosis, atrial fibrillation is treatable.

For more information about atrial fibrillation, see our ‘Prevent a Stroke: Feel the Pulse’ campaign, or call the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart and Stroke Helpline, Freephone 1800 25 25 50.

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