When Les Botha returned from a holiday in Adelaide, the possibility that he was about to have a stroke caused by atrial fibrillation never entered his mind.
He believed he had caught a bad case of the flu. But soon after, he was rushed to hospital, with no function on the left hand side of his body.
Les is sharing his story to encourage others to speak to their doctor about their heart health, as the nation marks Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week.
While recovering from his supposed case of the flu, the 58-year-old Melbourne based husband started experiencing some very strange symptoms.
He kept dropping his phone out of his left hand - at one point, he couldn't even reach down to pick it up.
In addition, Les' wife told him his speech was slurred and he wasn't making any sense.
They sought help from their neighbours, who recognised the tell-tale signs of a stroke.
Les was rushed to the hospital and within 30 minutes, was receiving surgery to remove a clot in his brain.
In a matter of hours, Les was back to his regular self, with complete mobility. The root cause of the stroke was later revealed to be atrial fibrillation.
Les is now focused on managing his condition to prevent further complications. He said he had no idea he might have a heart condition and urged others to get their heart health checked.
"I am a fit person, in an active line of work. I don't touch junk food and I look after myself very well," he said.
"If I had known about atrial fibrillation earlier, this stroke could have been prevented... Atrial fibrillation can affect anyone."
An initiative of leading not-for-profit heart health organisation Hearts 4 Heart, Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week takes place from September 18-24.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the common and serious heart condition, to educate people about symptoms and risk factors, and encourage people at risk or experiencing symptoms to consult their GP.
Hearts 4 Heart chief executive Tanya Hall said an irregular heartbeat diagnosis could save your life.
"Diagnosed with atrial fibrillation myself, I understand the importance of awareness and early detection in managing this condition effectively and improving the quality of life for those affected," she said.
A national survey commissioned by hearts4heart revealed that about half of the adult population have limited knowledge on atrial fibrillation.
It found that among Australians aged 65 or older, only 10 per cent could correctly identify the symptoms of atrial fibrillation and 27 per cent were unaware of the condition.
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting, chest pain, fatigue, and reduced ability to exercise.
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