DORSET has a higher than national average number of people with a common heart rhythm disorder - known as atrial fibrillation - in the UK.

A campaign to raise awareness of Heart Rhythm Week which runs until Sunday is being supported by members of the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) carries a fivefold increased risk of stroke which can be preventable if detected in time.

Dorset GP Adam Fraser, inset, said it is an important screening programme: “During flu clinics last year, practices in Weymouth and Portland took part in a pilot screening project and diagnosed 22 patients with AF.

“Although it is very rare under the age of 50, prevalence of AF doubles with each advancing decade of age.”

AF causes the heartbeat to be irregular.

Many people suffer no symptoms, but possible symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, a fast, irregular heartbeat (palpitations) and feeling tired.

If you notice an irregular heartbeat, make an appointment to see your GP for a pulse check. For more information, visit NHS Choices website.