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World Heart Rhythm Week 2021: Know Your Pulse

World Heart Rhythm Week 2021: Know Your Pulse

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  • Abnormal arrhythmias account for 15-20% of deaths every year, and atrial fibrillation alone raises stroke risk by 5 times
  • World Heart Rhythm Week is an annual event hosted between 7th – 13th June every year
  • The mutual purpose of the drive is to increase knowledge on heart arrhythmia among the general public and medical professionals to promote the management of arrhythmias

World Heart Rhythm Week (WHRW) is celebrated from 7th to the 13th of June every year to develop awareness on the significance of understanding your pulse and a special focus on recognizing arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms).

This campaign enables seeking early intervention among the patients, if necessary, thereby decreasing the risk of serious complications below the line.

Why is Arrhythmia Serious?

The term " arrhythmia" relates to any changes from the normal rhythm of the heart. The normal pulse of a humanbeing ranges from 60-100 beats per minute.


Cardiac arrhythmia/abnormal heart rhythm causes the heart to beat irregularly - too fast (tachycardia - more than 100 beats per minute) or too slow (bradycardia - less than 60 beats per minute) due to changes in the heart's electrical impulses.

Although these irregularities may generally occur with daily activities like drinking too much coffee or certain types of medication, these settle over the day. However, grave events can precipitate heart failure, blackouts, syncope, sudden cardiac arrests, and even stroke.

Who is at Risk?

Any divergence from the normal range of pulse may point towards abnormal arrhythmias. The symptoms of arrhythmias generally include palpitations, breathlessness, and fainting spells.

The common risk factors for arrhythmias are:
  • Heart diseases, heart surgeries, high blood pressure, diabetes, advancing age, congenital heart defects in the electrical system of heart, too high or too low levels of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium & calcium, substances like alcohol, cigarettes & recreational drugs, family history of arrhythmias and various medications (appetite suppressants, psychotropic drugs, antiarrhythmics, beta-blockers, cocaine, marijuana and "speed" or methamphetamines).

Types of Arrhythmias

Among the several types of arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib), is the most often encountered one due to premature beat that may be felt as a "palpitation" or a "skipped beat." It is also a principal contributing factor to stroke.

World Heart Rhythm Week 2021

The global event is organized by the Arrhythmia Alliance, a group of patients, charities, and professionals who strive to promote the effective diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmia. The Arrhythmia Alliance South Africa was held at the 6th World Congress Paediatric Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery in Cape Town on February 17, 2013.

The general intention of the campaign is to develop recognition of heart arrhythmia among both the general public and the medical profession. This year 2021, the week centers on knowing your pulse.

People around the world are invited to reach the word on arrhythmias through different online activities like sharing infographics, statistics, hosting events in public places, schools & community centers through activities like Pulse Check Challenge, making a donation or fundraising events such as quiz nights, cake sales, coffee mornings and various other leads by tagging the Alliance networks.

Arrhythmia Alliance also endeavors to promote wellness and mindfulness by encouraging everyone to discuss with a friend or family member or reach out to Arrhythmia Alliance for any help or concerns on arrhythmia.

Listen to Your Heart

Many a time, arrhythmias may exhibit with no symptoms at all. Hence, it is vital to listen to the rhythm of the heart to evade serious outcomes of arrhythmias.

A simple pulse rate reveals the direct measure of the heart's rhythm in just 30 seconds and this could save your life. Note the activities done beforehand that may lower or raise your pulse to such as taking nicotine or having caffeine.

Follow the steps given below to calculate your heart rate:
  • Ensure to sit down for 5 minutes before taking the pulse rate
  • Set your three middle fingers and index fingers of your right hand on the edge/ base of your left wrist near the side of your thumb
  • Employ firm pressure and slide your fingers to the center of your wrist until you find the best position to take your pulse
  • Count the beat for 60 seconds or count for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to get a pulse rate in beats per minute
  • Record the results for any long-term irregularities

Impact of COVID-19

Due to the on-going Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the WHRW 2021 is recommended to be held virtually.

Since heart diseases and their risk factors, including diabetes and hypertension make one more vulnerable to severe form of coronavirus, it is more important than ever to take care of your heart in the time of COVID-19.

One of the emerging trends that worry many heart patients is the difficulties faced by them during routine care or emergency services.

Various studies emphasize supportive caregiving and treatment guidelines across the world, the most common one is triaging the patients based on the severity of the diseases and their underlying health risks such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory disease, kidney failure, and cancer and implement targeted care.

Fact Sheet of Arrhythmias

  • It is estimated that 100,000 people die from sudden cardiac events annually in the UK; more than breast, lung cancer, and AIDS combined.
  • Abnormal arrhythmias estimate to 15-20% of deaths every year.
  • Approximately 40% of adults and 30% of children having abnormal heart arrhythmia are commonly misdiagnosed with epilepsy.
  • Every 35 in 100,000 cases are caused by SVT (sudden increase in heart rate) in the US.
  • Around 500000 people in the UK are estimated to have undiagnosed atrial fibrillation.
  • Someone suffers from an AF-related stroke every 15 seconds.
  • Atrial fibrillation heightens the risk of stroke by 5 times.
  • There is a 25% lifetime risk of acquiring AF among everyone above the age of 40.

Managing Your Rhythm!

Recognizing the type of arrhythmias may improve the delivery of the right treatment at right time. Not all arrhythmias are deemed harmful and many of them are even left untreated.
  • The main treatment goals of arrhythmias lie in preventing the formation of blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke, especially in AF.
  • Treat the underlying heart disease/condition that may induce arrhythmia.
  • Procedures like catheter ablation, electrical cardioversion, and other surgeries may manage arrhythmias.
  • Ensure taking regular anti-arrhythmic medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Notify them about your other drugs and supplements, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins.
  • Take charge of your high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Consume a heart-healthy diet
  • Engage in regular physical activity. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
  • Say "no" to tobacco smoking, and sugary beverages
  • Munch on fresh fruits as a healthy alternative
  • Periodically monitor your pulse rate, especially if you have an artificial pacemaker
"Knowledge is power." Thus, it is important to be conscious of arrhythmia, its dangers, and the risks it presents to heart health.

  1. Arrhythmia - (https://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/nl/world-heart-rhythm-week)
  2. World Heart Rhythm Week - (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/arrhythmia)
  3. World Heart Rhythm Week 2021 - (https://www.gov.za/world-heart-rhythm-week)
  4. World Heart Rhythm Week - (https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/world-heart-rhythm-week-2021/)
  5. Abnormal Heart Rhythms: World Heart Rhythm Week - (https://www.apccardiovascular.co.uk/world-heart-rhythm-week/)
  6. Abnormal Heart Rhythms: World Heart Rhythm Week - (https://www.busamed.co.za/harrismith/articles/abnormal-heart-rhythms-world-heart-rhythm-week/)

Source: Medindia

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