The Facilities for Sickness Regulate estimate that virtually 10 p.c of men and women ages 65 and older are dwelling with atrial fibrillation – frequently known as AFib. It is considered that inside of the up coming 9 decades, extra than 12 million People will have AFib.
While AFib is the most commonly identified heart arrhythmia and is significantly widespread, it can be challenging to realize what it is and why it can be so harmful to our health.
“Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that begins from the leading portion of the heart,” describes Maheer Gandhavadi, MD, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist with the Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute. “Instead of beating generally and easily, the leading chambers of the coronary heart come to be electrically disorganized. This triggers the coronary heart to defeat irregularly.”
Dr. Gandhavadi states some individuals with AFib expertise no indications at all. In simple fact, it can go undetected until eventually a medical professional finds it as aspect of a regimen bodily test or for the duration of an unrelated medical procedure.
Nevertheless, numerous persons do encounter signs and symptoms which can be alarming.
“Symptoms can array pretty a bit and involve
palpitations, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and dizziness,” Dr. Gandhavadi says. “Sometimes symptoms are a lot more subtle, these as an maximize in exhaustion or lower in stamina.”
AFib is viewed as a critical situation mainly because it can guide to likely everyday living-threatening blood clots.
“Because the best chamber of the heart is beating irregularly, blood clots can type in those people chambers — specially in a part of the coronary heart termed the left atrial appendage,” suggests Dr. Gandhavadi. “These blood clots can depart the coronary heart and even travel to the mind ensuing in a stroke, which is the biggest chance of having atrial fibrillation.”
There are quite a few components that can place you at enhanced hazard for AFib, such as significant blood force, coronary artery condition, untreated slumber apnea, and excessive alcoholic beverages use. Men are extra possible to acquire AFib and chance will increase with age.
“While there are various danger components for developing atrial fibrillation, it can affect a extensive assortment of persons, quite a few of whom have none of these risk aspects,” explains. Dr. Gandhavadi. “We often see atrial fibrillation in persons who are really healthy and who stay very typical, lively life.”
Luckily, there are treatment alternatives available for AFib.
“There are two issues to contemplate when dealing with atrial fibrillation,” suggests Dr. Gandhavadi. “The to start with is to evaluate the danger of stroke from the atrial fibrillation and the next is to ascertain irrespective of whether even more treatment is necessary to get the heart again into a regular rhythm.”
The initially precedence is to make guaranteed that the threat of clots forming is reduced as substantially as achievable. Those men and women who are at superior hazard of blood clots from their atrial fibrillation are typically approved exclusive blood thinning treatment, called anticoagulants. These remedies slim the blood and significantly lower the chance of blood clots forming.
For sufferers who are at greater risk of blood clots and strokes but who are unable to tolerate these blood thinning prescription drugs, a distinctive machine can be implanted that can protect against the clots from forming. The device is implanted by using a minimally invasive technique.
For another person whose AFib is causing symptoms, treatment to restore usual heart rhythm may well be essential. This treatment may possibly consist of medication a cardioversion, which is a course of action to electrically reset the rhythm or a cardiac ablation, which is a minimally invasive procedure that treats the spots of the heart that are liable for triggering the AFib.
Pacemakers are normally not employed in the treatment of AFib mainly because they treat gradual heartbeats and AFib usually causes rapid and irregular heartbeats. Nonetheless pacemakers can be handy for some sufferers who have AFib and problems with slow coronary heart rates.
Dr. Gandhavadi suggests the prognosis for most sufferers identified with AFib is fairly excellent.
“There is no purpose that everyone with atrial fibrillation cannot guide a healthy lifestyle,” he says. “As extended as you consider care of on your own, handle your overall health, and stick to up with your medical professional regularly, you ought to do nicely.”
And he says, listening to a diagnosis of AFib ought to not be overwhelming.
“AFib doesn’t have to be frightening,” Dr. Gandhavadi claims. “AFib will not lead to you to have a coronary heart attack. The greatest danger from AFib is the threat of blood clots and that is something that we can prevent. We have remarkable treatment choices to make sure that your AFib is managed in a way that is most effective for you and your lifestyle. If you have AFib or feel you could have AFib don’t hesitate to search for aid.”