A simple pulse check-up can indicate the presence of atrial fibrillation which may help prevent an impending stroke, researchers said.
Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm.
A survey involving over 2000 people showed that while 57% of the respondents were far more likely to check their passport expiry date, only 32% checked their pulse.
In addition only 28% of the people knew taking their pulse was a health check they should carry out on themselves.
The British Heart Foundation has launched a dedicated phone line and new area of its website (bhf.org.uk/pulse) so people can hear examples of regular and irregular heartbeats, and get advice on how to take their pulse.
"Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that can be easily detected and treated," the Telegraph quoted Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, as saying.
"We urge all local health authorities to build a simple pulse test into heart health screening initiatives and other health checks, as the 60 seconds it takes could really help find people at a heightened risk of a stroke," Knapton added.