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We all know about the heartbeat, which is produced by the opening and closing of the valves in the heart, which in turn controls our blood flow. There is a regular pattern to this beat, and when, due to various reasons, it becomes irregular, it is known as arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation, known shortly as AFib, is one of the common types of arrhythmia.
Why AFib: The heart has an electrical impulse system, which controls the opening/closing of its valves. Due to various changes, be it lifestyle, dietary, or regular wear and tear, this electrical system is affected and so the valves do not function properly. This leads to altered rhythm, and when it happens on the right side of the heart, in the valves between the two atria, it is known as atrial fibrillation.
Signs and Symptoms: It is not something which shows up as soon as the onset happens. It is a gradual condition, and many people with AFib may go for months with no symptoms. There could be general symptoms like fatigue and headaches. Gradually, more symptoms like heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, occasional chest pain, or fainting set in. It is usually when workup for some other disease is being done.
Monitoring the pulse or heartbeat is one of the best ways to keep a check on the condition.
Types: There are different forms of it – paroxysmal, persistent, and permanent. In the first one, there are brief bursts of AFib lasting less than 7 days. With gradual progression, symptoms are more frequent and last longer, converting into persistent AFib, which lasts longer than 7 days. If the condition is longstanding and the doctor (as well as the patient) have decided not to treat it, it is permanent AFib.
Risk Factors: The chances of developing AFib increase with family history, age, obesity, smoking, hyperthyroidism, chronic lung diseases, and sleep apnea.
Living with AFib: It is a longstanding condition, and the following precautions are necessary, which are generally heart-healthy.
Quit Smoking: In addition to the multiple benefits of quitting, managing AFib is one.
Diet Changes: Change to a heart-healthy diet with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, increased fish oils, reduced fat, reduced salt and sugar etc.
Work It Out: Get into an exercise regimen. Discuss with your doctor to identify and agree on the type and level of exercise. This helps manage weight and stress, both essential for controlling AFib.
Manage Alcohol Consumption: Avoid excess consumption of alcoholic beverages. Avoid them completely if they trigger symptoms.
If you have the risk factors for AFib, implementing these changes earlier than the onset of symptoms can help delay progress and reduce severity of the symptoms. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.
Blood pressure is fluctuating. I am taking atenolol 50 as of now. Sometimes bp is as low as 70. What should I do?
I want some information about heart attack and how I improve the this condition because j have heart problem so give m sajetion.
I am 25 year old boy from India. Last week I had chest pain, it lasted few minutes. Yesterday I again felt it. Is it symptom of heart disease?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is common in pregnant women, even in those who have no previous history of high blood pressure. This leads to complications in about 6 to 10% of all pregnancies around the world. High blood pressure may develop before or after conception and as such needs special medical attention.
Hypertension prevents sufficient flow of blood to the placenta and this inhibits the normal growth of the fetus. This could result in low birth weight of the child. However, if diagnosed in time and treated properly, hypertension does not affect the child's health too much. There are various types of hypertension during pregnancies, such as:
- Gestational hypertension: This type of hypertension is developed about 20 weeks after conception. There is no abnormality in urine or any signs of other organ damage (as is common with hypertension during pregnancy) but the condition can worsen and complicate very quickly. Pregnant women below the age of 20 and above the age of 40 are often diagnosed with high levels of blood pressure. Women who have heart or kidney conditions before pregnancy and women carrying more than one child are also likely to develop gestational hypertension.
- Chronic hypertension: Chronic hypertension is high blood pressure which develops around 20 weeks before conception and does not normalize within 12 weeks after childbirth. The patient may also have been suffering from high blood pressure for a long time but the complications appear only during pregnancy because high blood pressure rarely exhibits symptoms without an associated condition.
- Chronic hypertension superimposed with Preeclampsia: Women who have hypertension before pregnancy may develop even higher blood pressure levels during pregnancy. This leads to several health disorders like frequent headaches, fatigue and depression.
- Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is often a serious complication of gestational pregnancy and affects about 5% to 7% of all pregnancies globally. Gestational pregnancy does not always develop into preeclampsia but it needs to be diagnosed and treated in time to avoid the complication. Women who have conceived for the first time or have a history of hypertension in the family are at a greater risk of preeclampsia. The symptoms of the condition are throbbing headaches, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, pain in the upper abdominal region and shortness of breath.
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