Alec Redmond, aged 10 from Clonskeagh, with mum Rebecca who has a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation and Tadhg Ward also aged 10. Photo:Marc O’Sullivan

A woman from Clonskeagh is getting behind an Irish Heart Foundation campaign to help prevent strokes.

‘Prevent a Stroke: Feel The Pulse’ is urging the public to incorporate a simple pulse check into your daily routine.

One in four people over the age of 50 are at risk of developing atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, which if not treated, are five times more likely to have a stroke.

Rebecca Redmond (46) was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation two years ago.

She told Dublin Gazette she went to the doctors when she had symptoms of exhaustion, irregular heartbeat, swelling in her legs and shortness of breath.

“I went to A&E several times; however, they only do a trace of 30 seconds of the heart and because I was so young it wasn’t worth investigating much further.

“I was sent away with ‘you’ll be better’ but it wasn’t until the symptoms got really bad that they did the trace for longer and it was diagnosed.”

Rebecca advised: “Checking your heart is really important because had I’d know I’d be able to tell [the doctors] that my heart beat is really fast and it’s really irregular, but I didn’t have that information.”

The Irish Heart Foundation’s campaign is all about the public checking their pulse twice a day, using two fingers on your wrist, twice a day for two weeks and take note of the results. If your pulse feels irregular, you could have atrial fibrillation and be at greater risk of developing a stroke.

The symptoms of atrial fibrillation can include tiredness, dizziness, palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath, but very often a person living with the condition will experience no symptoms at all.

This is why it is crucial for everyone aged over 50 to regularly check their pulse for irregularities to ensure an early diagnosis. For more information see www.irishheart.ie

It is really simple to check your pulse – just remember 2x2x2:

  • Sitting in a chair, rest your arm, palm facing upwards, on the arm of the chair or on a table.
  • Put two fingers – your middle finger and index finger – on your wrist at the base of your thumb.
  • Press down gently until you feel your pulse.
  • Use a watch, clock or phone to time 30 seconds. Count the number of beats you feel in 30 seconds and then multiply the result by two. This is the number of beats per minute.
  • A normal resting pulse is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and the beats are regular.
  • Do this twice a day, for two weeks, and use the Irish Heart Foundation’s Pulse Check card to keep a record.
  • Make sure you’re sitting down when you check your pulse and don’t drink caffeine or alcohol or smoke beforehand.