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?
- Occasional- This condition is also known as paroxysmal fibrillation. Here the symptoms come and go. For few patients, the symptoms might stay for a few minutes, for others, it can stay up to hours before everything becomes normal again.
- Persistent- The beat of the heart does not go back to normal. Medication along with electric shocks might be required to amend the condition.
- Long-standing persistent- This is the kind of Atrial fibrillation that can last up to 12 months at stretch.
- Permanent- This is the type where the erratic rhythm of the heartbeat can’t be restored. Long term medication is required to fix the condition.
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:
- Age plays a critical role in any cardiac related disorder. The older a person is, the greater are the chances of Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure along with unhealthy lifestyle can increase the risk of Atrial fibrillation
- People with a history of obesity can get this disease
- Chronic conditions such as kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, thyroid problems can lead to Atrial fibrillation
- People with an existing heart condition such as heart problem, heart palpitation, valve failure, coronary artery disease etc have an increased risk of suffering from Atrial fibrillation.
How is Atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
A doctor might use one of the many tests or diagnostic technique that are available to diagnose this condition:
- ECG- This is first but an important test to fathom whether there are any irregularities in the heart beat. The sensor presents in the ECG machine throws heart bit diagram in the form of graphs.
- Echocardiogram- This is a technique wherein sound waves are passed through the heart and an image is taken to understand about any possible irregularities. This is a fine test that can readily detect underlying and structural heart diseases.
- Blood tests- Blood tests can help to identify any thyroid irregularity or other condition that might lead to Atrial fibrillation. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.