What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial Fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib, is a type of arrhythmia that causes the heart to beat at an irregular speed or rhythm. The heart functions by an electrical impulse that travels through the upper chambers to the lower chambers causing them to contract and creating a heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation disrupts this electrical impulse, causing the atria to quiver rather than beating the way it should. AFib is most common in senior citizens and can be hereditary. Symptoms include:
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
AFib is the leading cause of stroke due to the formation of blood clots it can lead to in the heart. Those suffering from AFib are at nearly twice the risk of developing a stroke. If left untreated, it can also lead to heart failure by decreasing the heart’s ability to pump blood and causing it to grow weaker.
What Causes AFib?
The primary causes of AFib are other heart or arterial issues, such as:
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Heart Attack
- High Blood Pressure
- Sleep Apnea
Additionally, heavy smokers and alcohol drinkers are at a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation than those who abstain.
How Middle Georgia Heart Can Help
Our expert providers are wholly committed to providing the best cardiovascular care available. They will begin by conducting in-office tests to accurately diagnose whether you have AFib or not. Tests include electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG), echocardiogram, Holter Monitor, and various stress and blood tests. If your AFib has an underlying cause, such as hyperthyroidism, treating this cause will often resolve the problem. For others, medication or a pacemaker may be necessary. With all of these treatments, our providers are committed to compassionate, patient-focused care. Your health and wellness are our primary concerns.