(ARA) - More than 2 million Americans are living with a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (AFib), including the husband of award-winning actress Susan Lucci. People living with AFib have a nearly five times greater risk of stroke than those without the condition.
Lucci and her husband, Helmut Huber, are now working to educate America about the condition through a national program called Facing AFib, Get Serious About Stroke(TM). The couple is encouraging others to join them in taking the Facing AFib Pledge to learn more about AFib, understand how the condition affects their health or the health of a loved one and discuss ways to reduce AFib-related stroke with a doctor.
Since Huber was diagnosed with AFib more than a decade ago, the couple has been working with his doctor as a team to manage his condition and reduce his risk of stroke.
"When I found out that the leading man in my life had AFib, I made a pledge to learn everything I could to understand the condition and to work with his doctor to manage it," says Lucci. "We're encouraging those touched by AFib to take steps to reduce the risk of stroke by consulting their doctors and visiting FacingAFib.com. We hope others will join us by taking the Facing AFib Pledge and getting serious about stroke today."
Atrial fibrillation is a potentially serious condition where the heart beats abnormally, which can result in the formation of blood clots. These blood clots can travel from the heart to the brain, where they can lead to a stroke. Strokes associated with AFib can be about twice as likely to be fatal or severely disabling as other types of stroke. But, the good news is this risk can be significantly reduced.
"It's important for AFib patients and loved ones to work with a doctor to develop a treatment plan that's right for them," says Dr. David Willis, Ocala West Family Medicine PA, Ocala, Fla. "I encourage anyone with AFib to speak with their doctor about their personal risk of stroke and ways to reduce that risk."
Patients and their loved ones can visit FacingAFib.com to take the pledge and join the AFib community to get serious about stroke.
A state-by-state Facing AFib Pledge Map also allows visitors to see where others like them have taken the pledge. The website has helpful information, such as a stroke risk assessment tool and personalized doctor discussion guide.
Facing AFib is a program to educate Americans about AFib. The program was introduced in September 2010 to facilitate improved communication between patients and healthcare providers. Facing AFib is supported by founding sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., along with partnering organizations, National Stroke Association and StopAfib.org.