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Q3 2022 Cardiovascular Health

Know Your Pulse to know your heart rhythm – it could save your life

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Paola Giannoni

Trudie Lobban MBE

Founder & Trustee, Arrhythmia Alliance and Founder & CEO, AF Association

When should we seek medical advice, and what can we do to manage our own heart health?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is acknowledged as still being one of the main reasons for death, disability and filling a GP’s appointment book. Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder of Arrhythmia Alliance, shares her thoughts on how we, as a society, can help ourselves through lifestyle changes and how the NHS can help us through today’s technology of remote monitoring.

What is remote cardiac monitoring?

This is when information from a patient’s implantable device is sent directly to their doctor. Patient remote monitoring can provide care and support to patients wherever they are, whether in the depth of the countryside or a high-rise flat in a city. Patients who cannot travel can still be connected to their consultant. There is also the bonus of reducing those much-discussed waiting lists.

Still no definitive diagnosis due to infrequent symptoms? The insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) will monitor your episodes. These will be forwarded to the hospital for assessment immediately. Once a diagnosis is made, a pacemaker or ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator) may be advised to manage your condition and protect you from future episodes. These can also be remotely monitored and will save unnecessary hospital visits.

Patients who cannot travel can still be connected to their consultant.

Lifestyle changes and safety

It is always advisable to chat with your GP first, but the answer is likely to be – yes! Exercise and general physical activity like gardening and walking, or even hoovering, are excellent ways to prevent further deterioration of your condition, especially as so many of us become less active as we get older.

Keeping your blood pressure under control and knowing your pulse will help protect you from atrial fibrillation which, if not recognised, can lead to an AF-related stroke: www.knowyourpulse.org

Early prevention

Prevention is better than cure, and if a family member or close friend has experience with remote monitoring for a condition, then my best advice is to learn from this.

Never assume that you will not be at risk of cardiovascular disease. Worrying symptoms should be shared with your GP. Try to eat fresh vegetables and avoid ready-made meals. Be aware of your weight and the danger of smoking!

Arrhythmia Alliance has a patient information booklet on remote monitoring and a helpline if you have a particular concern – 01789 867 501.

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