The AFib awareness campaign began as a small pilot program in the association’s Founder’s Affiliate, which covers eight northeastern states. The expanded initiative focuses on U.S. cities where AFib rates are high — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.
It is estimated that 2.7 million to 6.1 million people in the U.S. have AFib. The condition increases one’s chances for stroke and other heart conditions.
“AFib is a major cause of stroke. Recognizing symptoms and getting quick preventive treatment can reduce this risk,” AHA New York Board President Larry Chinitz said. Chinitz is director of cardiac electrophysiology and cardiac rhythm management at the New York University (NYU) Medical Center.
One of the videos features Karen Christensen, 52, a former professional ice skater and now an ice skating instructor. She has been living with AFib for nearly two decades.
“I first noticed AFib a few months after my son was born,” Christensen said. “My heart would start racing. I’d get lightheaded and weak. At first, I thought it was a fluke and maybe I had eaten too quickly. Then it started lasting longer, and that’s when I went to the doctor.”
The AFib awareness information will be shared at AHA events and in hospitals. The information also will be distributed via social media and traditional and online media.