Afib isn’t a small lie; it’s atrial fibrillation. Both are small things that can have a big impact on your life. Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia of the heart. That means your heartbeat is irregular. Of all the types of arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation is the most common. Cases of atrial fibrillation have been increasing over the past two decades.
What causes it?
Atrial fibrillation occurs when your heart is not pumping blood properly. When blood flow from the upper heart chamber (atria) is disrupted, slowed, or increased into the lower chamber (ventricle), you may experience atrial fibrillation. Most causes are unknown, although direct damage or inflammation of the heart area can be a cause. There are risk factors that can make you more likely to experience “afib.”
Advanced age is the most common risk factor. Others include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
What are the symptoms?
- Fast or abnormal heartbeat
- Extreme fatigue or feeling lightheaded
- Pain in the chest
- Trouble breathing
Some may experience no symptoms at all.
How is it diagnosed?
The test for atrial fibrillation is simple. Your doctor can perform an EKG (electrocardiogram). This test is non-invasive and painless. A machine will image and measure your heart’s electrical impulses and find the irregularity.
What are the treatments?
- Take prescription medication to regulate heart rhythm
- Use blood thinner medication to combat the risk of blood clots
- Undergo AFib Ablation procedures if other measures are not successful
Living with atrial fibrillation doesn’t have to slow you down. You can still live an active lifestyle. You will need to monitor your condition carefully. You should keep all doctor appointments. Get regular blood tests and discuss your diet with your doctor if you have been prescribed blood thinners. If you have any side effects or complications, speak with your doctor immediately.
Atrial fibrillation increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. The staff at Regional Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Center will help diagnose and treat your atrial fibrillation. Call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service to find out more about this condition.