Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common type of arrhythmia, a condition in which your heart beats irregularly. It’s also one of the most severe types of heart disease. More than 3 million people, or about 1% of adults in the U.S.-have AFib, and it can strike at any age or stage of life. The good news is that with treatment, many people with AFib have a near-normal life expectancy and quality of life. The bad news is that many people hardly know they have it until they have symptoms such as palpitations or shortness of breath. In Frisco, TX, there are competent atrial fibrillation specialists you can approach for assistance. These experts in atrial fibrillation in Frisco take time in diagnosis before the treatment.
What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat that consists of the rapid and uneven beating of the heart’s two upper chambers, called atria. The term “atrial fibrillation” literally means “a fib (as in a fiber or filament) at the level of the atria.” It causes those chambers to quiver uselessly instead of contracting to send blood to the lower chambers and ventricles. So instead of pumping efficiently, the quivering atria often let blood pool up in them. From this, less blood gets pumped out of the heart into the body with each contraction.
Symptoms of AFib
Many people with atrial fibrillation don’t know they have it until symptoms such as palpitations or Shortness of breath occur. However, even if you’re having symptoms, the condition doesn’t necessarily require treatment right away. Some people may never need treatment for AFib.
In many cases, the first sign of AFib is a sensation of an irregular or forceful heartbeat. Then you might notice a fluttering in your chest and Shortness of breath.
Causes of AFib
The exact cause of atrial fibrillation isn’t known. Still, possible factors include:
- Heart disease, which can strain or weaken your heart.
- High blood pressure.
- A congenital heart defect, such as having two of the chambers in your heart reversed.
- Long-term lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Congestive heart failure.
- History of stroke.
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) are caused by a blockage in blood flow to your brain, causing damage to surrounding brain tissue.
Diagnosis and Treatment for AFib
A doctor can diagnose AFib with an electrocardiogram (ECG). But to confirm the diagnosis, which isn’t accessible if your heart is racing. Cardiac monitors like this one may help you pace your heart at home. Doctors prescribe medications to slow or stabilize your heart rate and restore a normal rhythm if the initial treatment fails. Surgical procedures sometimes are necessary to correct structural defects or block electrical signals that can lead to AFib.
If you have atrial fibrillation, regular checkups are essential, so your doctor can monitor your heart’s activity and adjust your therapy accordingly. This might include medications to keep your heart rate.
The most common type of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, is also one of the more severe types. If you experience any symptoms related to this condition, be sure to see a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment options. For those who are having difficulty pacing their heart rate or have been diagnosed with AFib-regular checkups are essential so that your doctor can monitor activity levels to adjust therapy accordingly.