What is AFIB

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation

With the rate at which the world is growing and the latest trends in health, everybody needs to be self-conscious of their health. The heart works as the engine to our bodies. It requires being healthy for the overall healthiness of our bodies. However, there has been a rise in heart-related conditions. Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB) is one of the heart conditions that you need to be wary about. AFIB is the most popular problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat. AFIB causes irregular heartbeats.

Atrial Fibrillation is often a rapid heart rate, which can increase an individual’s risk of heart failure, stroke, and other diverse heart complications. During AFIB, the two uppermost chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly and in a chaotic manner, which is usually out of coordination with the ventricles, the two lower chambers of the heart. Different people experience different episodes of AFIB. In some cases, these symptoms may come and go after a period and in others, they may take longer, which would require treatment.

There is no a particular group of people who are prone to atrial fibrillation, but it is more prevalent in people over 60 years. However, other heart conditions can make AFIB more likely such as:

  • Birth heart defect
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart failure
  • Past heart surgery
  • Heart disease linked to high blood pressure
  • Heart muscle disease

Besides, people with specific medical situations like sleep apnea, long-term lung disease, and an overactive thyroid gland also have a heightened chance of getting AFIB. In some cases, it can be linked to infections, inherited genes, and heavy caffeine, drug or alcohol use.

When you have atrial fibrillation, it might be tricky to realize you actually have the condition. This is because the signs and symptoms may seem like normal. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure or pain in your chest
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Palpitations, where you may feel your heart racing or your chest fluttering
  • Confusion

Atrial fibrillation may vary regarding period in different people.

  1. Occasional – In this case, you experience symptoms where they come and go. They can persist for several minutes or even hours and then stop on their own. In such a case, it is paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
  2. Persistent – In this case, it is hard for the rhythm of your heart to back to regular beating on its own. With a persistent atrial fibrillation, you may require treatment like medications or even electrical shock to help normalize your heart’s rhythm.
  3. Long-standing Persistent – This is whereby you experience symptoms of atrial fibrillation continuously and may continue for more than one year.
  4. Permanent – In a permanent atrial fibrillation, the irregular rhythm of your heart cannot be normalized. This would require you to utilize medications to control the rate of your heart.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above of AFIB, it is advisable to seek medical attention promptly. You doctor will want to examine the electrical activity of your heart at first. Your doctor may also require you to wear a heart monitor for some days to note any signs of arrhythmia as you continue with your daily activities.
Depending on the density of your atrial fibrillation, the medication may vary. It is recommended to follow any medication you are given correctly. Take your doctor’s advice seriously to avoid other serious conditions like a stroke.

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