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Atrial fibrillation, also known as afib or A-fib, is a medical condition that causes the heart to beat irregularly and quickly. It affects more than 3 million people in the US. While the normal human heart beats at 60 to 100 beats per minute, afib can increase the rate to 400 to 600 beats per minute. That, in turn, can increase an individual’s risk of stroke and heart failure.

If you’re wondering whether you have afib, it’s essential to watch out for the common symptoms of the condition. But let’s first take a look at the different types of afib.

 

Types of Atrial Fibrillation

Depending on the duration of afib episodes, the condition can be categorized as:

  • Paroxysmal (Intermittent) – Episodes last for less than seven days and stop without medical intervention
  • Persistent (Continuous) – Episodes last for more than a week and require a doctor’s intervention
  • Permanent (Long-standing) – Afib episodes that have been happening for more than a year (making it difficult to restore the heart’s normal rhythm)

In the absence of proper treatment, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation can progress to persistent and permanent afib. That emphasizes the importance of diagnosing the condition at an early stage.

90% of afib episodes may not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

If an individual has afib, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Palpitation
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • General weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles or feet

It’s worth noting that nearly 90% of afib episodes may not cause any noticeable symptoms. You might come to know that you have afib only when you get an electrocardiogram as part of a routine heart checkup.

Majority get to know AFib only when they get an electrocardiogram (ECG) as part of a routine heart checkup.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Typically, afib is the result of irregular electrical signals from the walls of the pulmonary veins that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium. It can happen due to the following factors:

Age: As an individual grows older, their risk of developing afib increases. While only 2% of people younger than 65 years have afib, that figure rises to 9% for people older than 65 years.

Gender: Men are at a higher risk of developing afib. However, women with afib experience more severe symptoms and have a worse quality of life.

Genetics: People with a family history of afib could be at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol use disorders, such as binge drinking, can damage the heart muscles and increase your likelihood of developing afib.

Heart Diseases

Atrial fibrillation is more common in people with cardiovascular diseases, such as:

Also, people who have undergone major heart surgeries or have a malfunctioning pacemaker are at risk of developing afib.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

People with the following medical conditions can have a propensity for afib:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumonia
  • COPD

In Conclusion

Afib is a serious heart condition that can have life-threatening consequences. If you think you’re at risk of developing the condition or have been experiencing symptoms like palpitations and dizziness, make sure you consult an experienced cardiologist right away.

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    Do You Have Atrial Fibrillation and What Are Its Causes Blog

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      Introduction

      Atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) is when your heart’s upper chambers (Atria) beat irregularly and out of sync. The heart’s pumping function isn’t as strong or efficient as it should be because the atria aren’t squeezing in rhythm as they should be. This can cause an increased risk of stroke or reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart. Fortunately, with treatment, you can prevent stroke and live longer.

      Anyone can develop atrial fibrillation. The risk of AF increases with age, especially after age 65. But it also affects younger people who have had heart failure or other underlying conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. People who smoke are more likely to develop AFib than non-smokers. High blood Pressure is another risk factor for developing the condition. Diabetes can also be a contributor because the disease often leads to heart problems like valve damage or increased stiffness of heart muscles. which could lead to atrial fibrillation.

      AFib Symptoms Can Be Mild or Severe

      Atrial fibrillation symptoms can be mild or severe, which include, but are not limited to:

      • Palpitations (a sensation of fluttering in the chest)
      • Fatigue
      • Dizziness
      • Shortness of breath

      There Are Three Types of Treatment For AFib

      There are three types of treatment for atrial fibrillation.

      • Medications: The most common medications include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and anticoagulants. These drugs are used to keep your heart rhythm steady and treat the symptoms of AFib.
      • Catheter Ablation: In this procedure, a thin tube called a catheter is inserted into either arm or groin area where an electric current is delivered directly into abnormal tissue triggering heart muscle contraction so that electrical waves are not able to form again
      • Surgery: If medications don’t control your symptoms, surgery may be an option. However, it’s only performed as a part of another surgery – usually a valve replacement surgery. In this procedure criss-cross incisions are made in the atria wall so that there are no abnormal electric circuits that are persistent.. There are two types of surgery options: one is done on the surface of the heart (called ablation) with another that goes through open chest surgery (called surgery).

      If you’re living with atrial fibrillation, there are several medications that can help keep your heart rate regular and reduce your risk of stroke.

      • Anticoagulants can reduce the risk of blood clots forming in your heart or elsewhere in the body.
      • Beta-blockers lower heart rate and blood pressure, making it easier for your body to pump blood. They may also help relieve chest pain and dizziness caused by irregular heartbeat (known as palpitations).
      • Calcium channel blockers can improve blood flow through narrowed arteries by affecting the way calcium travels through them, reducing the stress on the heart muscles.

      Conclusion

      If you’ve been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, don’t panic. It is a treatable condition, and the right treatment can make it almost as easy to manage as other common conditions like hypertension or diabetes. If you feel like something might be wrong with your heart and want to know more about AFib treatment options, talk to your doctor or go see a cardiologist today.

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        Atrial Fibrillation – A Common Treatable Condition Blog

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          Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common heart arrhythmias (irregular or abnormal beating). It happens when your heart’s upper chambers (the atria) beat abnormally fast and out of rhythm. It can lead to severe complications like blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. So you must know how AFib affects your body and what to do about it.

          The Heart Is a Smart Pump

          The heart is a muscular organ that’s divided into four chambers. The tricuspid valve separates the right atrium and ventricle, and the mitral valve separates the left atrium and ventricle. The heart can’t just pump blood around your body; it also has to know what’s going on and how to respond. The heart can do this because of the electrical system within its walls.

          The heart’s electrical system is made up of two different types of cells: pacemaker cells and conducting cells. The pacemaker cells are found in the upper right chamber. They generate an electrical impulse that travels through the conducting system to stimulate the contraction of your ventricles (right and left).

          Beating of a Heart

          A heartbeat is caused by electrical signals traveling through the heart chambers and valves to tell them how hard to contract at what time. The sinoatrial node (SA node) sends these signals out; it’s located at the junction of your right atrium and superior vena cava. The SA node acts as the central command for your cardiac rhythm. It keeps track of all your electrical activity and coordinates how to pump blood efficiently throughout the body.

          What Happens in Atrial Fibrillation

          Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder where abnormal electrical signals from an overactive nerve cause the atria to contract too quickly and chaotically, which causes blood to pool in the upper chambers of your heart instead of flowing smoothly into the ventricles.

          It can lead to symptoms like:

          • Palpitations (heart pounding)
          • Shortness of breath
          • Fatigue
          • Dizziness
          • Fainting
          • Sweating

          Types of Atrial Fibrillation

          Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type, is a temporary condition that can last a few minutes or several days. When you have paroxysmal AF, you may experience symptoms such as heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Some people also experience chest pain or lightheadedness in addition to the above symptoms.

          Persistent atrial fibrillation is an ongoing condition with abnormal heart rhythms that last longer than three months. But it’s not considered chronic AFib if you don’t experience any symptoms from them.

          Permanent atrial fibrillation is another type of long-term irregular heartbeat that occurs when all the cells in your heart’s upper chambers develop arrhythmias (irregular electrical signals) for an extended period.

          Conclusion

          Atrial fibrillation is a common heart condition that can be serious. It’s important to know the symptoms of atrial fibrillation and how you can manage it. If you think you have atrial fibrillation, contact your doctor right away so they can help diagnose and treat the condition before it gets worse!

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