Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is one of the most common type of arrhythmias. When atrial fibrillation is present, your heart cannot pump blood properly and poses several risks to your overall health.
Today we’re breaking down the major factors of AFib to provide a better understanding of this serious condition.
Why is AFib a Problem?
When your heart is functioning correctly, it will pump out nutrient-rich blood at a strong, rhythmic pace. An AFib patient has a heart that’s not contracting correctly and is failing to supply the body with sufficient amounts of oxygenated blood. The body relies on a regular blood supply to operate correctly, so patients with AFib run the risk of experiencing major health issues.
Common Symptoms of AFib
If you suspect you’ve developed AFib, stay alert of these common symptoms:
- A rapid heartbeat
- A fluttering or irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Sensations of dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Pains in the chest
- Overall weakness
In some cases, patients with AFib exhibit no signs or symptoms. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of AFib patients have no idea because they show no indications. That’s why it’s important to have your heart checked regularly.
AFib Patients Are at High Risk for Stroke
Patients with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than non-AFib patients. AFib causes blood to become static in certain chambers of the heart. When blood begins pooling, a blood clot is likely to develop. If the clot is then pumped out toward the brain, there is a high chance that it will clog an artery and cause a stroke.
Signs of Stroke
When faced with the possibility of a stroke, think F.A.S.T.
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911
Also be aware of additional warning signs of stroke, including
- Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
- Vision difficulties
- Inability to walk, stand, or remain coordinated
- Rapid onset of a severe headache
Daily Activities Living with AFib
Patients with AFib can carry on as usual if their doctor gives them clearance to do so. However, your doctor may want you to make adjustments to your daily routine and eating habits. Certain improvements can help reduce triggers of AFib, like:
- Decreasing or eliminating caffeine intake
- Decreasing or eliminating alcohol consumption
- Lowering stress and anxiety levels
- Improving sleep and finding treatment for patients with sleep apnea
If you have AFib or suspect you may have it, rely on Middle Georgia Heart for exceptional care.