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Dempsey Holds Stroke And Atrial Fibrillation Forum

May 14, 2014--4:13 p.m.

PRESS RELEASE

State Representative Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) co-hosted and moderated the Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Awareness Forum at the State Capitol, sponsored by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians.  During the 2014 legislative session, Rep. Dempsey sponsored legislation, HR 1717, which recognizes May 14, 2014 as Atrial Fibrillation Day at the State Capitol.

“I was proud to serve as the moderator and co-host of this awareness event, along with the Academy of Family Physicians, as we all know someone who has been impacted by stroke at some point in their life,” said Rep. Dempsey.  “Stroke has a lasting impact on those affected, and it’s that impact which has led me and my fellow lawmakers to name today, Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day in Georgia. I urge everyone to take action, as we try to continue to do our part as policy makers and raise awareness for this threat.”

As a part of Atrial Fibrillation Day at the State Capitol, the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians sponsored an Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Awareness Forum, in which Rep. Dempsey acted as the moderator.  The forum included discussions from doctors representing Emory Health Systems, Piedmont Hospital and Wellstar Health System as well as Pharmacists and Nurses from the metro Atlanta area. These experts explained atrial fibrillation and its relationship to stroke, prevention, and how to help those who have suffered from a stroke. Testimony was also given by an individual living with atrial fibrillation and stroke to get the perspective from a patient’s point of view.

Atrial Fibrillation Day in the state of Georgia seeks to help raise awareness about this health threat. Atrial fibrillation, the most common form of arrhythmia, occurs when the electrical activity of the heart is disorganized, causing an irregular heartbeat, disrupting the flow of blood through the heart and into the brain.  Adults 40 years and older have a 25 percent risk of developing atrial fibrillation over the course of their lifetime.  Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, alcohol misuse, advanced age, thyroid disease and heart disease.            

Those with atrial fibrillation have a risk of stroke that is five times greater than the general population, and 15 to 20 percent of all people who have strokes also have atrial fibrillation.  Stroke has a severe and lasting impact on the state of Georgia.  It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in one person dying from stroke every four minutes. In 2010, the most recent numbers available, nearly 4,000 Georgians died after suffering from a stroke.