Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heartbeat is irregular, rapid, and unpredictable. The heart's upper chambers (atria) fibrillate, making it difficult for the lower chambers (ventricles) to work together smoothly. This nonsynchronous rhythm makes the blood flow difficult. Someone with atrial fibrillation may be at risk for other heart-related complications such as stroke, coronary artery disease, or heart failure.

With atrial fibrillation, your heart rate may be as high as 175 beats per minute instead of 60 to 100 beats per minute. The irregular and rapid heart rhythms have no singular cause. Rather; it can be an effect of:

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart valve problems

  • Heart failure

  • Heart attack

  • After a heart surgery

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Lung disease

  • Sleep apnea

  • Viral infection

The physician will recommend the best treatment for a patient based on the severity of the symptoms and condition. It can be lifestyle changes, medications, therapy, or surgery. Some lifestyle changes that can prevent atrial fibrillation are:

  • Control high blood pressure

  • Quit smoking

  • Keep a healthy diet

  • Treat sleep apnea

  • Limit alcohol intake

  • Control blood sugar level

Medications like blood thinners, heart rate control drugs, and surgical procedures like maze procedure and atrioventricular (AV) node ablation help to reset the heart rhythm, control heart rate and prevent blood clots by reducing the risk of stroke.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Some of the common risk factors that you need to keep in check are:

  • Family history

  • Pain in the shoulders, neck, back, or abdomen

  • Age

  • Heart diseases and congenital disabilities

  • High alcohol consumption

  • Smoking

  • Excessive use of caffeine

  • Drug intake

  • Diabetes or kidney disease

  • Obesity

Atrial fibrillation can be occasional or persistent. If you notice the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Chest discomfort or pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sweating

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

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