AN ALVA man is urging people to get checked for a rare condition after he said he was freed following his diagnosis.

Ivan Williams was part of a ground-breaking inquiry into atrial fibrillation (AF) which eventually led to the release of crucial research earlier this month.

The report says that Scotland must identify AF sufferers that are currently undiagnosed and ensure that clear and consistent clinical pathways exist to optimise their treatment and management.

The study, carried out by the British Heart Foundation, also gave the Scottish Government 10 recommendations.

Ivan, 70, was diagnosed in 2014, but had lived much longer without knowing he had the condition. However, he says he is so glad that he was diagnosed because he can now get on with his life without worrying about what may be wrong.

He said of his participation in the inquiry: "Five or six of us who have the condition were invited along. It was a fantastic mix of people in the discussion, most of whom were in the medical profession.

"I was at a meeting where the condition was discussed on what could be done to raise the profile, what could be done to monitor the patients better and diagnose it quicker.

"My interest part of it was to raise the profile and through my own experience of it pass on what the risks could be if you have symptoms relating to the condition if they go undiagnosed and untreated."

AF is one of the most common types of irregular heart rhythm and those with the condition are at a five-fold increased risk of having a stroke, which can have a devastating impact on individuals and families and be fatal.

Over 96,000 people in Scotland have been diagnosed with AF. However, it's estimated that 2.6 per cent of the Scottish population, around 145,000 people, have the condition.

This means that nearly 50,000 people in Scotland are living undiagnosed and missing the opportunity to reduce their stroke risk through appropriate treatment.

Ivan, who lives with his wife Linda in Alva, said: "It could easily lead to a stroke. I spoke with a senior consultant at the report launch and he said that he saw eight stroke patients the day before and three of them had AF and didn't even know it until they had their stroke.

"In a sense it was liberating because when you have something like that and you don't know what it is, getting something in the way of confirmation then treated is great. I feel lucky because I know what it is.

"Now I know I've got it, it answers some of the questions I had about the palpitations and what my heart is doing. Now I know this is the cause of it and I am getting medication for it.

"It is great to see my heart going from an irregular heartbeat and a high speed to coming down. My blood pressure is an acceptable level and my pulse is a normal rate. It is genuinely stable.

"It is good to know that's being looked after rather than being undetected."

The report, A Focus on Atrial Fibrillation in Scotland, can be read in full at