Disease Specific

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A Fib) is the most common problem with the heart beats rate or rhythm.

Atrial fibrillation aka “A Fib” is when the two upper chambers (called atria) of your heart beat at a different rate than the bottom two (called ventricles) chambers of the heart.  This condition can be called an arrhythmia. (abnormal heart rhythm)

Normally, the top part of your heart (the atria) squeezes first, then the bottom part (the ventricles) squeezes. The timing of these contractions is what moves the blood.  For every electrical signal to the atria (top of heart), this signal continues down to the ventricles (bottom of heart).  It is the electrical signals that control this system that are off-kilter. Instead of working together, the atria do their own thing.

Anyone can have atrial fibrillation, but it is more common in people who are 60yrs of age or older.

Some cases of atrial fibrillation is so minor, the person with the condition is unaware of that this is going on.  More common are the noticeable cases of A-fib, with some of the clinical presentation (symptoms experiencing) of:

  • Your heart feels like it is racing or fluttering in your chest (palpitations)
  • Fatigued or weak
  • Dizzy or lightheaded
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Short of breath

If you have these symptoms, depending on the severity (how bad the symptoms are), if you are unable to function with your everyday life, seek medical attention!  Please let your physician know if this is happening to you!

Sometimes you don’t feel any symptoms, though. Talk with your doctor about your chances for having A-Fib, and be sure to get regular checkups.

If you are experiencing a-fib, your doctor may order testing to find the cause of this.  The testing may include:

Blood testing

EKG (electrocardiogram)

Chest x-ray

Possibly a Holter monitor (an electronic device that monitors your heart rhythm)

Echocardiogram

Exercise stress test

The treatment of A Fib is dependent on the severity of symptoms and the cause of the atrial fibrillation.  

If you have any questions or concerns please contact your physician!

 

***************This information is to be used as educational, not as medical advice************

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