Atrial fibrillation—also called AFib—is a serious condition that is characterized by an irregular heartbeat that is usually abnormally fast. AFib is the most prevalent form of irregular heartbeat with upwards of 5 million people living with the condition in the United States. Here is an overview of everything you must know about the condition.
Age plays a huge role
Individuals aged 80 and overrun the highest risk of being afflicted by this cardiovascular irregularity. In fact, 10% of everyone who is 80+ have AFib. This condition has a close connection to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and obesity, and those with a family history of heart disease and AFib are at an increased risk of getting AFib.
AFib can be asymptomatic
Individuals with the condition do not always exhibit symptoms, but when they do, the following symptoms are the most commonly reported ones:
– An irregular beating of the heart and an increased rate of heartbeat
– A throbbing sensation in the heart
– Trouble breathing
– A lack of energy
Diagnosis of AFib requires an EKG/ECG (electrocardiogram)
Your doctor will likely order an EKG to reach a diagnosis. However, in some cases, you may also be required to put on a cardiovascular monitor that records and evaluates your heart rhythm over a period of time.
AFib treatment involves numerous methods
A majority of patients with AFib get a prescription for certain medications that are meant to keep the condition under control. That said, some patients experience severe adverse side effects or do not benefit enough from such medications and may require an operation. Furthermore, individuals who run a high risk of experiencing a stroke are additionally prescribed anticoagulants (blood thinners).
AFib has a strong link to stroke
AFib ups the risk of stroke exponentially. In fact, up to 35% of individuals with AFib usually end up having a stroke. It is of utmost importance for patients to consult with their primary physician to evaluate their risk of stroke. If you are at an increased risk of a stroke, it may be necessary to go on blood thinners. If blood thinners are not an option as per your physician, he or she may recommend a procedure to lower your risk of stroke.
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