What is Atrial fibrillation?
Irregular beating of the heart is known as atrial fibrillation. It increases the incidences for heart disease and stroke. Fatigue, weakness and dizziness are all signs of an atrial fibrillation. Treating it requires lifestyle changes and medications and often procedures like ablation, cardioversion, and surgery or pacemaker placement. The heart has an abnormal functioning electrical system in atrial fibrillation. Other problems in health cause wearing out of the heart and makes it difficult for the cardio vascular system to perform at its best.
What are the symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?
Often heart affecting health problems cause atrial fibrillation, such as:
An incidence of hyperthyroidism or pneumonia can cause atrial fibrillation. It goes away after the underlying disease has been treated. Sometimes the doctor may not be able to find the underlying cause for atrial fibrillation.
An electrocardiogram can be the simplest and best way to detect the presence of any atrial fibrillation. A physical examination and medical history is also usually done along with it. You may be asked by your doctor to record the heart rhythm in instances when they think you have an atrial fibrillation which undulates. This is known by different names like ambulatory EKG, 24 hour EKG, ambulatory electrocardiogram and cardiac-event monitoring. This device may be used by your doctor to see the efficiency of a medicine.
It is difficult to predict the atrial fibrillation treatment for you as a lot of it is dependent on the symptoms you show and the risks you have for other medical problems.
Treatments for atrial fibrillation are designed to make your overall health improve and avoiding any future problems, mainly heart failure and stroke.
How is the condition treated?
Three main treatment types are available:
Treatment for Stroke Prevention
Atrial fibrillation can become dangerous when the heartbeat isn’t steady or strong as blood might pool or collect in the atrium. Pooled blood has greater chances of forming clots. Clots can spread via the blood vessels to anywhere in the body, like the brain and lead to a stroke. A doctor can predict the likeliness for you to have a stroke by assessing your health and age. This can be of utmost importance for both your doctor and you to lower the risks.
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that results in rapid heartbeat leading to heart failure, stroke, and other cardiac complications. In this condition, the upper valves of the heart beat irregularly. Some of the common symptoms of this condition include weakness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. There could be several episodes of Atrial fibrillation. Although it is not life threatening, there could be serious complications owing to the nature of the condition. Atrial fibrillation can also lead to a condition known as the ischemia.
What are the different types of Atrial fibrillation?
What are the possible causes of Atrial fibrillation?
Some of the possible causes of Atrial fibrillation include Coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, viral infection, lung diseases, exposure to tobacco, caffeine, etc, metabolic imbalance, hyperactive thyroid gland, viral infections, congenital heart defects, stress due to illness, pneumonia and surgery, history of heart surgeries etc.
What are the risk factors for Atrial fibrillation?
Here are some of the common risk factors for this condition:
How is Atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
A doctor might use one of the many tests or diagnostic technique that are available to diagnose this condition:
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.
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.
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. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!
If you are concerned about your heart’s health, it is important for you to make some dietary modifications. Simple changes in your everyday diet may offer benefits, which help in preventing future heart problems. If you suffer from high blood pressure or high cholesterol or have atrial fibrillation.
Here are some tips regarding the best diet for protecting your heart:
You should also add whole grains to your diet. They are effective in controlling blood sugar and lower the chances of diabetes. Hence, the risks of heart diseases are less if you do not have diabetes. Whole grains also help with weight loss, which is beneficial for the heart. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
When you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or afib, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, putting your heart back in its proper rhythm is only half the goal. Stroke prevention is the other.
Both objectives require rethinking certain foods and medications that once seemed innocuous and now could be a danger to your health. From common over-the-counter drugs to some of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, here's a list of atrial fibrillation dangers to sidestep.
Caffeine can trigger atrial fibrillation
Chugging cup after cup of coffee may help you stay awake, but too much caffeine can be an atrial fibrillation trigger, causing more frequent episodes of the irregular heartbeat. The same goes for caffeine pills, energy drinks, and other caffeine-containing substances.
" they [energy drinks] have the capacity to make afib worse or more frequent, even in people who have never had afib before" says larry chinitz, md, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at nyu langone medical center in new york city. But, Dr. Chinitz notes, when you have afib, only&nbsp;excessive caffeine intake is a problem, so you can sip a latte here or there without any trouble.
Alcohol can be toxic to your heart
Think twice before you order that next round alcohol and atrial fibrillation can be a dangerous combination. Alcohol in excessive amounts is a depressant to the brain, but a stimulant to the heart. This stimulation can worsen or instigate afib episodes.
" it's also a direct toxin to the heart muscle" chinitz says. Sometimes, heavy drinking over a short period of time can cause episodes of atrial fibrillation in people who have not been previously diagnosed with it, a condition known as holiday heart syndrome.
Cold and allergy medications can trigger afib
For most people, nonprescription medications for stuffy and runny noses are fine, but cold/allergy medicine and atrial fibrillation don't mix well. Use caution when taking these remedies because they could cause more frequent episodes of an irregular heartbeat.
" all medications that are trying to decrease secretions or dilate the airways or lungs are all direct stimulants to the heart" chinitz explains. A few common stimulating over-the-counter (otc) medications to watch out for include actifed (chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine), sudafed (pseudoephedrine), and contac (acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine), though others may present the same atrial fibrillation dangers. Talk to your doctor before taking any of these medications if you have afib.
Leafy green vegetables affect blood clotting
Whoever thought that veggies could be bad for you? but as it turns out, some of them can be dangerous if you have atrial fibrillation. If you're on a blood thinner such as warfarin (coumadin, jantoven) for atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke, you should carefully monitor your intake of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, which contain high amounts of vitamin k.
Vitamin k can counteract the blood-thinning effects of warfarin, making some veggies atrial fibrillation dangers. But you don't have to give up vitamin k for afib management; the key is to eat about the same amount of k-rich foods every day" you shouldn't have none for a month and then huge amounts over the course of a few days" chinitz says.
Vitamins and herbal supplement cautions
Though otc supplements are often thought of as harmless, some of them can affect atrial fibrillation. Vitamin e, for example, has a blood-thinning effect so if you're on a blood thinner, talk to your doctor before taking it. The same goes for herbal medications that have a stimulant effect, like ma huang (chinese ephedra) and st. John's wort.
Extreme exercise puts a strain on your heart
For most people with atrial fibrillation, moderate exercise isn't a problem and can be beneficial by helping you control your weight and improve your mood. But a few people with afib find that particularly difficult workouts can launch a fibrillation episode" we do caution those people against excessive amounts [of exercise]" chinitz says" but most people's exercise routines are not affected"
If you notice irregular heart rhythms during or just after a workout, talk with your doctor about the best way to proceed so that healthy workouts don't turn into atrial fibrillation dangers.
Stress, anxiety, and depression weigh on the heart
Emotions can play a role in bringing on an atrial fibrillation episode. People with afib who have more severe anxiety and depression symptoms may have more afib episodes than people with less-severe anxiety and depression. To help reduce stress and lower your risk of an afib episode, pay close attention to your emotions and schedule relaxing activities that you enjoy.
If your stress, anxiety, or depression becomes overwhelming, talk to a healthcare professional about ways to lighten your emotional load.