Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow. Making sure that people are more aware of the symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation can help with early diagnosis and early diagnosis means quick access to treatment which in turn will reduce the risk of stroke.
Atrial fibrillation decreases your heart pumping ability. The irregularity that it causes decreases the efficiency of your heart and if it occurs over long periods, it could weaken the heart and cause heart failure. This is exactly why it’s so vital for not only seniors but everyone to be aware of. AFib or Paroxysmal AFib does not often cause serious problems but it’s always highly recommended to see your doctor at any point that you might have a concern about your episodes or to call 911 if you are not able to get to the hospital in the incident that you cannot wait to see your primary care physician.
Your physician may often use medication or a cardioverter which is a device that assists in making your heart rhythm go back to normal. The main mistake that people often make is thinking of AFib as a life-ending diagnosis when in fact it’s not. It is very common. However, different active episodes could cause you to experience other complications such as stroke or heart failure which could lead to death.
This is why we’re going to make you aware of all of the symptoms you should be looking out for, the treatments to seek out if you need them and we will also show you that you can lead a normal life by way of a fun and healthy lifestyle. As long as you stay on top of what you can learn and do to prevent potential episodes you will find that it’s not that difficult to manage. Keep reading to make sure you remain in the know.
What is AFib?
What exactly is Atrial Fibrillation? In the simplest terms, it is a regular and often rapid heart rate that causes your blood to flow poorly. A better way of thinking about it is when the heart’s upper chambers start to beat out of sync with the lower chambers. An AFib attack will often feel like a flutter within your chest while your heart is beating. You will probably notice that your heart is beating abnormally fast compared to your usual rhythm and the feeling will be very distinct to you because it will often result in a pounding or racing feeling.
What you experience with this will often only last a few minutes but it is important to be able to recognize signs and symptoms so that you will be more prepared or aware in the case of a potential attack.
AFib Symptoms and Treatment
Sometimes you may not experience symptoms with AFib but when you do experience them they will often include shortness of breath, fatigue, or palpitations. You may also experience dizziness, weakness, or the inability to exercise. It will often be felt in the chest area. Here’s a quick look at those symptoms;
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pain
- Fatigue or Weakness
- Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat
It is important to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms for AFib so that you can better prepare yourself for episodes. Remember that AFib left untreated could lead to blood clots that may cause a stroke.
There are a few ways to treat Atrial Fibrillation. The methods consist of medical procedures, supportive care, minimally invasive surgery, or actual medication. Treatment will often consist of beta-blockers and blood thinners. Medications that help your heart rate such as beta-blockers are the most effective treatment for Atrial Fibrillation. The medications can help to control or slow rapid heart rates and can mean a positive difference in heart functionality. Take a closer look at the treatments below.
Cardioversion and catheter ablation
Cardiac Monitoring to monitor your heart rate and rhythm. Is often able to be done at the hospital or within your home
Cox and Mini maze procedure minimally invasive (ablation)
Calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, anti-arrhythmic, and anticoagulant
Calcium channels and beta-blockers are usually the first line of defense for controlling AFib. They can often be administered orally or intravenously and what makes them additionally effective is that they continue to work at rest or with exertion
Can I Live Normally With AFib?
Absolutely! Atrial Fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm among US residents. As long as you are receiving the proper treatment for AFib you can very well live a normal and healthy life. The best thing that you can do is to stay on top of your checkups. Be open with your doctor and never ignore any feelings that your body experiences. There may be a few things that you want to avoid if you have been diagnosed with AFib such as;
- Large amounts of red meat
- Alcohol (potential AFib risk factor)
- Processed foods
- Too much salt
- Caffeine and Energy Drinks
- Large amounts of sugary foods and drinks
Having a healthy diet can help to reduce any risk factors that might cause AFib. Not only that but a healthy diet can help with lowering your cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart attacks. You can easily live a normal life without AFib disrupting it, you just have to pay closer attention to your body.
Stay Aware and Stay Safe
The main takeaway is to stay aware. Always listen to your body and if you aren’t sure about something always ask a medical professional. Stay on top of appointments with your primary care physician and make sure that you are knowledgeable about self-testing and self-observation when it comes to certain conditions.
Remember that AFib is an irregular rhythm. It’s when your heart is beating so rapidly that it causes your blood to flow poorly so it’s important to notice what is and isn’t normal. You can do this by checking your heart rate. If you do not have a digital device that displays your heart rate for you, you can easily check it manually with no equipment.
To do this just, firmly place your index and middle finger of your right hand onto your inner left wrist at the base of the thumb. Count the beats within a 30-second time frame and then just double the number that you get to achieve your heart rate.