Atrial Fibrillation is a medical heart condition where the upper chambers of your heart beat in an irregular way, preventing blood from flowing properly from the atria to the two ventricles. Atrial Fibrillation, or also known as AFib or AF, can either be a temporary, brief episode or a lasting condition. It’s one of the common types of heart arrhythmias, and studies show that by the year 2030, this condition will affect 12.1 million people in the United States alone.
Do you think you might be experiencing signs and symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?
Signs and Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation isn’t a life-threatening medical condition. However, it should still be taken seriously. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Pain in the abdomen
When atrial fibrillation happens occasionally, it’s known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Signs and symptoms will come and go and will only last for a few minutes to a few hours.
Persistent atrial fibrillation is more continuous, and for your heart rhythm to normalize itself, you’ll have to receive treatment, such as medication or an electrical shock. If atrial fibrillation has become permanent, then there is no way to restore your irregular heart rhythm. In this case, you would have to take medication to prevent any blood clots from forming and to control your heart rate.
Atrial fibrillation usually occurs due to any abnormalities or damage that your heart’s structure might’ve suffered. For example, people who have suffered a heart attack or were born with heart defects run a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, which you can learn more about if you read more here. Other possible causes include:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal heart valves
- Coronary artery disease
- Excessive exposure to stimulants
- Sleep apnea
- Viral infections
- Lung diseases
- Heart surgery
Atrial fibrillation treatment involves taking special medication prescribed by your cardiologist to help control your heart rate. Other ways to treat atrial fibrillation is to make certain changes in your day-to-day life that can help improve your heart arrhythmia.
Lifestyle Changes to Make
If you notice that your heartbeat becomes irregular when performing certain activities, avoid them and consult with your doctor. Also, eliminating habits such as smoking and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake may help improve your symptoms.
You want to watch out for any other stimulants you might be taking that can provoke irregular heart rates, such as some cough or cold medications. In addition, try to keep your high blood pressure under control, as well as your blood sugars. And if you struggle with obesity, try to achieve a weight goal that is healthier for your heart.
Speak With Your Doctor
If you think you’ve been showing signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation, it’s time to book an appointment with your health care provider. The earlier you get diagnosed, the faster you’ll be able to treat your condition.
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