Latest News
Press "Enter" to skip to content

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (afib) is a heart condition characterized by an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. Atrial fibrillation affects the upper chambers of the heart, called atria. Instead of conducting electrical signals in a regular rhythm, these upper chambers quiver or shake in afib. Slower heartbeats can increase the risk of developing afib and make it worse.

As the upper chambers of your heart flutter or beat rapidly and irregularly, blood is not pumped out of the heart efficiently. This can lead to the formation of clots that may travel through your bloodstream. These can cause a stroke if they reach the brain.

If you experience any symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation, you should visit a cardiovascular health expert or an Upper East Side atrial fibrillation specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Many people who have atrial fibrillation are often unaware of the condition. This is because afib does not always cause symptoms, which may come and go for varying lengths of time. When they do occur, the most common symptoms include:

  • Palpitations or a “racing heart” feeling
  • Weakness or feeling light-headed
  • Dizziness or fainting episodes
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Exercise intolerance due to fatigue and shortness of breath

If you experience any of these symptoms, consult a cardiologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Although the exact cause of atrial fibrillation is unknown, several conditions can increase your risk of developing afib. These include:

  • A heart attack or history of coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease or heart failure
  • Heart valve problems
  • Long-term lung disease
  • Weakened heart due to a previous heart infection
  • Congenital heart defects that affect the atria

Medications such as those for high blood pressure and angina can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. These, however, may also be used to treat afib after diagnosis.

Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation

Some factors for developing atrial fibrillation are out of your control, but you can make adjustments to reduce your risk. Smoking is a significant cause of heart disease and stroke, linked to afib’s development. If you smoke, you should stop now to avoid an increased risk of heart-related conditions.

Being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems that increase your risk for atrial fibrillation. Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent afib and reduce your risk for related conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

Regular physical activity, especially cardio exercises like running or swimming, can be essential for maintaining your health. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to get exercise if you are at risk for afib.

Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

If you have been diagnosed with afib, seek medical attention right away. Your doctor can run tests to make a proper diagnosis and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

There are several treatments for afib depending on your symptoms, heart rate, and other factors. For some patients, lifestyle changes may be enough to control the condition, while others may need medication or medical procedures for long-term management.

In summary, atrial fibrillation is a heart’s upper chambers disorder resulting in a fast or irregular heartbeat. Symptoms include palpitations, dizziness, and a weak heartbeat. The exact cause of the condition remains unknown. You can prevent it by quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, and exercising regularly. Treatment varies depending on your symptoms.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *