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Heart Foundation Offers Free Pulse Checks

The Heart Foundation is offering people the chance to get free pulse checks in 19 locations throughout New Zealand, during the week of 16-24 November 2020, as part of its atrial fibrillation awareness campaign.

The condition is an irregular heart rhythm, which can result in an increased risk of stroke and heart failure for some.

“The condition can strike adults at any age and we think nearly one in 35 New Zealanders between 35 and 74 have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, so that’s more than 60,000 Kiwis. It’s also likely there are many more who don’t know they have it, making it the most common type of heart rhythm disorder,” says Heart Foundation Medical Director Dr Gerry Devlin.

“Atrial fibrillation is more common as we age. On average Māori people are more affected and tend to develop atrial fibrillation 10 years younger than non-Māori.”

But the condition can affect anyone, regardless of age or ethnicity.

It can be very challenging for people living with atrial fibrillation and the Heart Foundation also runs support sessions to provide a warm, supportive environment that allows families to hear from experts and meet others who are living with the condition.

Free Heart Foundation pulse checks are being held throughout New Zealand and details of locations can be found here.

How to check your pulse:

  • Place three fingers over the inside of your wrist, resting the fingers at the base of your thumb. Take time to feel the pulse under your fingers.
  • Count each beat for a total time of 30 seconds.
  • Double the number of beats you counted and that is your heart rate per minute.
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Most people’s heart beats regularly and is between 60 and 100 beats per minute when resting

An irregular pulse is when the heart doesn’t beat in a regular fashion.

See your doctor if you notice that:

  • Your pulse seems irregular or seems to be ‘jumping around’.


Interview opportunities:

Dr Gerry Devlin, Heart Foundation Medical Director.

In a healthy heart, regular electrical signals keep your heart rate at a steady rhythm usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This is called sinus rhythm. When you have atrial fibrillation, the electrical signals become random and chaotic, causing the top two chambers of your heart, the atria, to twitch or quiver. This in turn causes your heart rate to become irregular and can cause it to beat faster than usual.

Heart disease at a glance:

  • Heart disease is New Zealand’s single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than 6,300 New Zealanders every year – that’s one person every 90 minutes.
  • More than 180,000 New Zealander’s are currently living with heart disease.
  • The Heart Foundation funds cutting-edge research and specialist training for cardiologists, while our education and prevention programmes address heart disease head-on in the community.
  • The Heart Foundation is New Zealand’s heart charity that is leading the fight against heart disease.
  • As a charity we rely heavily on the generosity of everyday Kiwis to support our life-saving work.

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