What Is AF?
With a normal heart rhythm, the atria (upper chambers) and ventricles (lower chambers) work as a team, contracting and relaxing to move blood to the lungs and into the body.
AFib is a condition in which the electrical impulses of the heart lose their regular pattern. The heart rhythm (pattern of heart beat) becomes erratic, and often the heart beats too fast. This irregularity means that the heart does not pump a normal amount of blood out of the atrium, causing the blood that is left behind to pool and form clots. Untreated atrial fibrillation can lead to a heart failure and increases the risk of stroke.
So what is the good news? AFib can be controlled. With medical guidance, you can lead a normal, active life. Through new procedures, medications and technologies, AFib is easier to manage than ever before.
Symptoms of AFib:
- Racing, irregular heartbeat
- Flopping sensation in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness, dizziness or fainting
- Chest discomfort or pain, especially when the heart is beating fast.
Were you surprised you were diagnosed with AFib? Some people never feel any symptoms. Even if you do not experience symptoms, it is important to understand your condition.
Goals for treating AFib:
- Prevent blood clots to reduce stroke risk
- Restore normal heart rhythm
- Control heart rate-allow the heart to beat at a normal rate to prevent heart failure
- Uncover underlying causes (thyroid disease, electrolyte imbalances or blocked heart arteries)
- Treat adjustable risk factors-sleep apnea, hypertension, weight management, stimulant consumption (eliminate or limit caffeine and alcohol)