Sharon lends her support to a campaign to help raise awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF).
Atrial Fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular pulse and increases a person's risk of stroke by four to five times. However, AF does not always cause symptoms and some people are unaware they have the condition.
The Government has estimated that 700,000 people in the UK may have the condition without knowing it and therefore have an increased risk of having a stroke.
GPs and other healthcare professionals can identify AF through a simple pulse check and the risk of having a stroke can be reduced through treatment with anticoagulants that are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Within Sunderland's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), it is estimated that 7,162 people have AF. However, about 43 per cent of those are not thought to be treated with anticoagulants that would help reduce their risk of stroke.
To help raise awareness of AF, Sharon had her pulse checked at a Parliamentary walk-in clinic hosted by the Lord Black of Brentwood on behalf of the charity AntiCoagulation Europe.
Speaking after the event, Sharon said:
Events like this are vital in raising awareness across the country about hidden dangers like atrial fibrillation.
It is an easy thing to check, and treatment is on hand to those who are more at risk, so I urge everybody to get checked out, so that we can prevent more strokes and enable people to live longer and healthier lives.
Eve Knight, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of AntiCoagulation Europe, said:
With stroke the largest cause of death in Europe, and a major cause of adult disability, it’s vital that more is done to detect and diagnose AF and then minimise the risk of stroke by providing appropriate medication. People with AF should be given information about anticoagulation and have access to the full range of NICE-recommended treatment options.
I’m delighted to see Ms Hodgson tackling this important health issue and raising awareness of AF and stroke prevention in Washington and Sunderland West.
You can find out more about AntiCoagulation Europe at their website here.
Find out more about Atrial Fibrillation on the NHS Choices website here.