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Balloon Angioplasty Procedure
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Patient Review Highlights
Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, which you may experience due to a problem in the electrical system of the heart. Such a problem causes the upper parts of the heart or the atria to fibrillate. Due to this quivering, the normal rhythm between the lower parts of the heart and the atria gets disrupted. The ventricles are likely to beat faster in an irregular rhythm. This is a severe condition where the blood may get collected in the atria; this could lead to the formation of blood clots. These clots can block the blood flow and lead to a stroke.
Several conditions cause strain and damage to the heart. These include the following:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Heart attack
- Valvular diseases
- Coronary artery disease
- Medical problems like heart failure, lung diseases, high level of thyroid or pneumonia
- Heart surgeries
- Excess consumption of alcohol
The primary symptoms of atrial fibrillation include the following:
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak and fatigued
- Feeling as if the heart is pounding, fluttering or racing (known as palpitations)
- Feeling that the beating of the heart is uneven
- Chest pain and fainting
In many cases of atrial fibrillation, the symptoms may be absent.
Conducting several tests, physical examinations and an analysis of your health history is the first step towards diagnosing atrial fibrillation. An electrocardiogram (ECG) needs to be carried out for the detection of this condition. This test is performed for checking problems regarding the electrical activity of the heart. Other laboratory tests and an echocardiogram maybe required as well. An echocardiogram helps in observing the pumping function of the heart and to check whether the valves have been damaged.
The treatment options for atrial fibrillation depend on the cause, symptoms and the risks of getting a stroke. Several medicines are used for treatment along with other methods. They are as follows:
- Blood thinning medicines for the prevention of a stroke.
- Heart rate control medicines which will prevent irregular beating of the heart.
- Rhythm control medicines for restoring the heart’s rhythm to normal.
- A process known as cardioversion may be used to bring the heartbeat to a normal rhythm. This can be carried out by medicines or an electric shock therapy known as electrical cardioversion.
- In case of severe symptoms, ablation may be carried out where the affected areas of the heart are destroyed by the creation of a scar tissue.
For the best diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation, you must consult a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms of the condition. A doctor will prescribe all that you need for an effective treatment.
The heart pumps pure blood to all parts of the body through a network of arteries. These are thicker in the beginning and become finer and thinner as they reach the various organs. These arteries are lined by a layer of epithelial tissues and as blood flows through them, the heavier cholesterol / fat molecules settle down along the walls.
This attracts more and more fat molecules to settle down. This is known as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Over a period of time, the vessels circumference reduces and the blood supply to the target organ reduces. This impacts proper functioning of these organs and when this happens to the major organs like the heart, kidney or the brain, conditions like stroke or thrombosis or heart attack can occur.
This condition, known as coronary artery disease, is becoming a major cause of deaths. While that is the bad news, the good news is that it is largely lifestyle dependent, and if steps are taken, it can be prevented, and in the early stages, the damage completely reversed.
1. Diet: A low-fat, high-fiber, heart-healthy diet consisting of Omega-3 fatty acids is recommended by doctors, especially to people who are prone to develop heart disease. This also requires reduced salt, increased unsaturated fats, reduced triglycerides and reduced sugar. Include loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and fish oils. Include multivitamins or other supplements after checking with your doctor.
2. Exercise: Regular exercise in any form increases the efficiency of the circulatory system, keeps the cholesterol levels in check and helps in blood pressure management. Exercise in any form is advisable, based on individual preference. A moderate physical activity of 30 to 45 minutes per day is advisable.
3. Smoking: This is one of the major risk factors for smoking, and quitting or controlling smoking is one of the best methods to prevent coronary artery disease.
4. Alcohol consumption: While moderate alcohol consumption is believed to be healthy for the heart, excessive alcohol consumption is a strict no-no. Binge drinking especially is shown to cause heart attacks.
6. Regular medications: If you are on blood pressure or diabetes medications, ensure you do not miss them. Keep a constant check to ensure your readings are managed well.
7. Watch out: Ask your doctor if there are specific symptoms that you need to watch out and seek medical support if you see any of them.
Coronary disease is not treatable fully, but can be prevented and managed effectively to improve the overall quality of life.