A CHARITY has warned that one in three people with a potentially deadly condition are yet to be diagnosed.

And now a local screening programme is being called for in the local area, backed by MSP Brian Whittle.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an irregular heartbeat which, if left untreated, can lead to debilitating or life-threatening stroke.

Heart rhythm charity, the Arrhythmia Alliance and its sister organisation, the AF Association, are calling for a screening programme in Cumnock and Doon Valley This would be for people over 65 who could be at risk of the condition.

AF is simple to diaganose and can be detected in under a minute by having your pulse checked.

It is the most common heart rhythm abnormality, and is associated with a third of ischaemic strokes, which are typically more severe and debilitating for the patient.

If detected, the risk of a stroke can be significantly reduced by prescribing drugs which provent blood clots from forming.

South of Scotland MSP Brian Whittle attended a Know Your Pulse event hosted by the Arrhythmia Alliance at the Scottish Parliament.

The event raised awareness of the importance of a simple manual pulse check in helping to detect AF and Whittle was one of the MSPs who had their pulse checked and had an ECG hand-held recording taken by the charity.

Whittle was started by the charity’s statistics and said: “I was shocked to hear about the numbers of people walking around today completely unaware that they have AF and who could be at risk of a debilitating or life-threatening AF-related stroke.

“I fully endorse the work of the Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association and their call for a national debate on AF screening in Scotland.

“The pulse check I had taken showed just how simple and easy it is to identify someone who may have AF.”

Trudie Lobban MBE, founder and CEO of the Arrhythmia Alliance added: “Manual pulse rhythm checks are a simple, cost-effective way to identify people with irregular heart rhythms, such as AF.

“Which is why we are calling for a debate in the Scottish parliament on the value of screening for AF.

“A manual pulse check, is so simple to do, takes less than a minute and does not cost the NHS.

“But the benefits in preventing AF-related strokes and unnecessary deaths are enormous.

“Everyone needs to be aware of their pulse and how to manually check for an irregular rhythm.”