What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a health condition marked by irregular and rapid heartbeat that can increase the chances of stroke and other heart-related complications. This is also known as the most common type of heart arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation usually affects the upper chambers of the heart and disrupts the blood flow to ventricles or arteries. This can be both temporary and permanent health issues. However, if atrial fibrillation is not treated on time, it may lead to serious health troubles.
Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms
In most of the cases, people do not realise that they have atrial fibrillation since the symptoms do not appear every time. It is only after a physical diagnosis that you can discover if you are suffering from atrial fibrillation or not. Those who do experience some atrial fibrillation symptoms complain of the following:
- Heart palpitations with irregular and racing heartbeat
- Fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in chest
- Inability to exercise properly
Who Is At Risk?
Knowing atrial fibrillation risk factors can help in understanding how prone a person is to this health condition. Some of the most common factors are:
- Age: Those who are older in age are at higher risk of atrial fibrillation.
- Heart Disease: People with heart diseases such as congenital heart disease or have a history of heart attack are more prone to irregular heartbeat.
- High BP: Unmanaged high BP can also increase the chances of atrial fibrillation.
- Alcohol Consumption: For some people, alcohol can trigger this condition.
- Family History: People having a family medical history of atrial fibrillation have are more prone.
- Obesity: Obese people can get atrial fibrillation easily than others.
- Other chronic conditions: People dealing with illnesses such as sleep apnea, diabetes or any chronic kidney disease are at higher risk
Atrial Fibrillation Causes
Atrial fibrillation causes are not always known. However, there are some conditions that can damage the heart and lead to atrial fibrillation. These include:
- Congestive heart failure
- An overactive thyroid gland
- Heart valve disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart surgery
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Sick sinus syndrome
- Lung disease or a blood clot in the lungs
How Is Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosed?
An atrial fibrillation diagnosis may involve one or more tests to determine the exact cause and reason behind the irregularity. Here are some of the tests or evaluations you may be required to take:
- Physical Exam: The doctors first examine your physical symptoms and review your medical history to further process atrial fibrillation reasons.
- Electrocardiogram: Also known as EKG, this test records the electrical impulses of the heart.
- Echocardiogram: In case atrial fibrillation doesn't occur during EKG, the doctor will conduct an echocardiogram to produce moving images of your heart.
- Holter Monitor: This atrial fibrillation test is done using a device. You will have to wear the device for 27 hours and the doctor will later check your heart activity.
- Blood Tests: This test is done to diagnose any thyroid disease that may be causing atrial fibrillation.
How Is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?
For atrial fibrillation treatment, the doctors may opt for various methods. The main aim is to make sure the heart beat adopts its natural rhythm and prevent blood clots. Common treatment methods include:
- Medication: The doctors can use medicine to control the symptoms and reduce the risk of further complications. They can also prescribe medicines to treat the underlying health condition that may be causing atrial fibrillation.
- Cardioversion: In some cases, the doctors use special procedures to rest your heart to its natural rhythm through cardioversion. The method involves usage of electric shock or atrial fibrillation medicine.
- Surgery: In severe cases, the patient may have to go through surgeries that include catheter ablation or maze procedure.
Atrial fibrillation cure can be difficult to understand. Thus, always consult a specialised healthcare professional for proper treatment. We, at Care.Fit, make sure that you get world-class treatment and diagnosis from top doctors. For this, we also offer online appointments through our app and website.
How Can Atrial Fibrillation Be Prevented?
While it is difficult to avoid all the causes and risk factors or atrial fibrillation, you can make a few changes to be on the safer side. These include:
- Having a healthy diet
- Perform regular exercise
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
- Reducing stress
- Maintaining healthy body weight
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