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What is Atrial Fibrillation?

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) refers to an irregular and usually very fast heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can often cause blood clots in the heart region. A-fib raises the risk of heart problems such as heart failure and stroke.

The heart’s upper chambers (the atria), which should pulse in rhythm with the lower chambers (the ventricles), instead beat abnormally and irregularly during atrial fibrillation. Many people with A-fib may not show any symptoms. However, A-fib may result in palpitations, a quick, pounding heartbeat, shortness of breath, or weakness.

Atrial fibrillation episodes can be intermittent or recurrent. Even though A-fib is typically not a life-threatening condition, it is a significant medical issue that needs to be adequately treated to avoid stroke.


What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?

Sometimes those who have A-Fib don’t exhibit any symptoms, and a physical exam is the only way to diagnose them. Although the quivering or fluttering heartbeat is the most typical symptom, some people may also have one or more of the following symptoms:

1. General tiredness

2. Irregular and rapid heartbeat

3. Chest “thumping” or fluttering

4. Dizziness

5. Breathing difficulties and anxiety

6. Weakness

7. Lethargy or disorientation

8. Exhaustion after exercise

9. Sweating

10. Chest pressure or discomfort


How Do A-Fib Symptoms Differ From Those Of A Heart Attack?

The leading indicators of A-Fib are fluttering and palpitations, but many heart conditions have similar warning signs.

Blood flow restriction to the heart during a heart attack is frequently brought on by a clot or accumulation of plaque lodged in the coronary artery (a blood vessel that carries blood to part of the heart muscle). Part of your heart muscle may be destroyed or damaged during a heart attack. Some heart attacks are sudden and severe; there is no room for uncertainty. However, most heart attacks begin gradually, with slight pain or discomfort.


What Is The Cause Of Atrial Fibrillation?

A person with atrial fibrillation may have a heart rate of 100 to 175 beats per minute. The average heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

Structural issues with the heart most frequently cause atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation may have several causes, including:

1. Cardiovascular disease

2. Heart attack

3. A congenital disability in your heart (congenital heart defect)

4. Cardiac valve issues

5. Elevated blood pressure

6. Lung conditions

7. Surgical stress, pneumonia, or other physical illnesses.

8. Prior cardiac surgery,

9. A thyroid disorder, including metabolic abnormalities and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

10. The issue with the normal pacemaker of the heart (sick sinus syndrome)

11. Sleep apnea

12. Usage of stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and some pharmaceuticals.

13. Parasitic infections


How Can You Prevent Atrial Fibrillation?

As you may have heard from many healthcare professionals, “Prevention is better than cure.” Making choices for a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk of heart disease and possibly even stop atrial fibrillation. Here are some fundamental recommendations for maintaining heart health:

1. Eat a balanced diet.

2. Get frequent exercise and keep your weight in check.

3. Avoid smoking

4. Limit or avoid alcohol and coffee consumption.

5. Be mindful of your stress levels because they can lead to heart rhythm issues.


Is A-Fib curable?

No, there is always a chance of atrial fibrillation returning unless a clearly defined, treatable, reversible reason exists. A-Fib has no known treatment options. One can manage and control the rhythm by reducing risk factors, using blood thinners, ablation, and medication.