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Everything you want to know about Atrial Fibrillation in 1 page

Atrial fibrillation (AF), refers to the most common type of arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat.  The heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

Atrial fibrillation is the result of electrical signals which get disorganized and prompt the heart’s upper chambers (atria) to rapidly and irregularly contract (fibrillate).  The atria receives blood that is not pumped into the two chambers on the bottom of the heart.  This causes the upper and lower chambers to not work together effectively.

Everything you want to know about Atrial Fibrillation in 1 pageWhen you have atrial fibrillation, you may not be aware of it.  But you can still have a stroke.  Atrial fibrillation can result in chest pain or even your heart to fail.  You may have atrial fibrillation occasionally, rarely, or it may end up a on on-going problem lasting years

The older you get, the possibility of atrial fibrillation increases, particularly beyond the age of 60.  Potential symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:

  • fatigue, not having energy
  • heart palpitations (the heart suddenly pounding, racing or fluttering in the chest)
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness (feeling light-headed or faint)
  • discomfort in the chest (pressure, tightness or pain in the chest)

If you have the following conditions, you are at greater risk for atrial fibrillation:

  • past heart surgery
  • lung disease
  • high blood pressure
  • congenital heart disease
  • heart valve disease
  • coronary artery disease
  • pulmonary embolism
  • congenital heart disease
  • heart failure

If you experience the above symptoms or have the above conditions, it is important to see your doctor to rule out atrial fibrillation.  A few people (10%) do not have heart disease and experience atrial fibrillation due to stress, excessive caffeine use, alcohol, stress, drugs or from an infection.

Your doctor can diagnose atrial fibrillation through an electrocardiogram and monitors that allow your doctor to determine if your heartbeats are irregular.  Treatment includes surgery, medication, medical procedures and lifestyle changes.



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