PEOPLE in Ellesmere Port are missing a vital health check that could save their lives.

That’s the message from British Heart Foundation (BHF), which says a simple pulse check can detect atrial fibrillation (AF), which is an abnormal heart rhythm most common in the over 55s.

AF can cause dangerous blood clot formation, leading to about 16,000 strokes in the UK each year.

Ellesmere Port resident David Baiso, 62, who was diagnosed with AF four years ago, said: “I used to visit the gym three to four times a week.

“I prided myself on my fitness, however, I had some problems with my breathing for about two years. The feeling I got was like when you’ve been running and you feel like you can’t get any more air into your lungs.

“It had got to the point where if I did any activity it felt like the last breath I was going to take. Then my feet suddenly swelled up. It was really my feet that I went to the doctor about.

“The doctor did a graph on my heart and told me that it was beating at 177 beats a minute. The doctor said I’d been on the verge of a heart attack and it was only exercising that had stopped it from happening.”

David spent two weeks in hospital and was put on medication, which he takes daily.

He added: “I still go to the gym still but it’s a very different state of fitness that I can get to. I have to monitor my heart rate closely and make sure that it doesn’t get over a certain rate.

“Not everyone with atrial fibrillation has symptoms, so it’s really important people check their pulse. It’s so easy to do and it only takes a few minutes.”

For more information, call the BHF’s dedicated phone line on 0300 333 2 333 or visit pulse.