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What is Atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a condition of irregular heart rate. It occurs when the signals beat chaotically through the chambers of the heart.

Atrial fibrillation also referred to as “AFib”. AFib is a common type of Arrhythmia. A heart arrhythmia is a condition called when your heart beats in an irregular way. It may be slow or fast.

This condition is not life-threatening. But when it occurs it needs medical treatment. If this left untreated, it can result in serious problems. The condition may put you at risk of the following:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Attack
  • Other Heart Related Complication

The treatment for AFib may include medication. The medication is used for a long-term. It is to control and prevent the condition to occur.

What Causes Atrial fibrillation?

The cause of atrial fibrillation is the damage of the heart structure. The following are factors that may be a possible cause of AFib such as:

  • Abnormal Heart Valves
  • An overactive thyroid Gland
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Exposure to Stimulants (eg. Medications, caffeine, alcohol & tobacco)
  • Heart Attack
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lung Disease
  • Previous Heart Surgery
  • Sick Sinus Syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Stress due to pneumonia & other illnesses
  • Viral infections

Signs and Symptoms of Atrial fibrillation

The signs and symptoms for this condition don’t actually appear. A person with AFib will not know they have it. The symptoms of AFib may include:

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Chest Pain
  • Heart Palpitation
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Light-headedness
  • Short Breathing
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Faint

Diagnosing Atrial fibrillation

In diagnosing, your doctor will examine your signs and symptoms first. Then afterward, your medical history. Then he will conduct you a physical exam. After doing the screening, he may suggest you undergo tests. This is to diagnose you with your condition.

The tests may include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter Monitor
  • Event Recorder
  • Echocardiogram
  • Blood Tests
  • Stress Tests
  • Chest X-ray

How To Prevent Atrial fibrillation?

To prevent AFib, you must have to change your lifestyle including:

  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Quit Smoking.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Control your emotion or anger that can lead to heart rhythm problems.
  • Take over-the-counter medications with caution.
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

How to Treat Atrial fibrillation?

The treatment will depend on how long you had AFib. Also the symptoms and causes of your condition. The goals in treating AFib are to:

  • Decrease the risk of strokes
  • Control the rate
  • Prevent blood clots

To treat the condition your doctor will reset your heart rate into normal. This procedure is known as  “Cardioversion”. It has two ways such as:

  • Electrical Cardioversion
  • Cardioversion with drugs

After conducting the cardioversion, he will prescribe you a medication. This is used to prevent future episodes of AFib. The medication may include:

  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
  • Flecainide
  • Propafenone (Rythmol)
  • Sotalol (Sorine)

Other treatment may include:

  • Heart Rate Control
  • A catheter and Surgical Procedure (eg. Ablation, maze procedure, node ablation)
  • Anticoagulant Drugs (eg. Warfarin & Newer anticoagulants)