America observes AFib Awareness Month in September. Many people are not aware of this relatively common condition that makes strokes five times more likely.
Today we’ll talk about Atrial fibrillation, its symptoms, and how to catch it early.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is often referred to as AF or AFib. It’s an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, that can cause your heart to beat as high as 175 times every minute. By contrast, a healthy adult’s heart rate ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
A sobering statistic from the American Heart Association says untreated atrial fibrillation could double your risk of heart-related deaths. Shockingly, less than half of all people with AFib believe they are at increased risk.
Sustained AFib can cause strokes, heart failure, and other complications, so it’s important to take it seriously and treat it right away.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Many people actually feel their elevated heart beat on their own. According to the Heart Rhythm Society, you may have one of the following feelings in your chest:
- Pounding drums
- Rumbling thunder
- Flopping fish
Besides for the quivering, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat, there are other symptoms common to AFib, including:
- Shortness of breath
If you have any of these symptoms, especially if your heartbeat feels strange, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
Not every case of AFib needs immediate treatment, and treatment will depend on many factors. The main goals in treating AFib are to lower the risk of stroke by preventing blood clots, and to treat any underlying conditions that have caused the AFib.
If the arrhythmia is severe and/or affecting your quality of life, you will also need to control your heart rate via medication.
To learn more about Atrial Fibrillation, visit www.alittlefib.org for information and resources.