Irregular or abnormal beating of the heart is known as arrhythmia. The most prevalent type of arrhythmia in adults, also known as AFib, develops when the electrical system that regulates your heartbeat fails, impairing blood flow to the atria and the heart’s upper chambers. In a healthy heart, the muscles in the upper and lower ventricles of the four chambers contract in unison to move blood from the atria to the ventricles, where it is circulated throughout the body.
Due to abnormal electrical impulses occurring within the heart, the atria, or top chambers of the heart, quiver or fibrillate when an individual has AFib (beating very fast).
Many AFib symptoms may resemble other cardiac conditions, such as a heart attack. Inform your doctor right away once if you get AFib warning signs:
Periodically, atrial fibrillation can occur with symptoms that either come and go, persist for a few minutes to hours, and then go away on their own. The arrhythmia is perpetual in atrial fibrillation that is chronic.
AFib raises your chance of getting a stroke. AFib patients have a five-fold increased risk (ref. link) of stroke compared to individuals without AFib. Hence, it’s critical to detect the stroke warning signals if you have AFib because it raises your risk of stroke :
AFib is extremely dangerous, even if it occurs occasionally. Blood clots brought on by untreated or misdiagnosed AFib can swiftly develop into a stroke. AFib can also weaken the heart’s muscles, resulting in heart failure. It is better to have it examined, be identified, and begin a course of medication that can control AFib. Medication can frequently be used to control AFib.
As adults age, atrial fibrillation becomes increasingly prevalent. The prevalence of this arrhythmia in patients over 80 years old is about 11% (ref. link). Atrial fibrillation patients frequently show no symptoms. After an older adult’s first stroke, atrial fibrillation is frequently found to be the root cause.
AFib diagnosis increases the risk of stroke, especially when combined with conditions like heart valve disease, heart failure, diabetes, and hypertension. The atria may develop blood clots as a result of atrial fibrillation. A stroke might happen if the blood clot leaves the heart and moves to the brain.
Teenagers may also experience atrial fibrillation symptoms, despite their rarity. If subsequent occurrences are frequent, it may be a symptom of an underlying problem or a single, isolated incident.
It is highly uncommon to receive a diagnosis on a regular evaluation, unlike patients who are adults. Before a major occurrence like a heart arrest, paediatric children virtually invariably exhibit palpitations as a symptom. Younger individuals with healthy hearts who briefly experience the symptoms of atrial fibrillation are less likely to have the risk factors for stroke.
The use of drugs or alcohol and physical activity can cause an isolated episode of AFib in a heart that is otherwise healthy. Teens frequently experience chest pain, abdominal pain, or a feeling of the heart pumping quickly.
According to how long your symptoms last, doctors categorise AFib. Some varieties’ fluttering lasts longer than others:
Treatment for AFib depends on how long you had the condition, your symptoms, and the underlying cause. Some AFib patients exhibit no symptoms and are completely unaware of their illness. It might be identified using a stethoscope to listen to the heart or with a cardiac test like an electrocardiogram, echocardiography, stress test, or Holter monitor.
Others may have symptoms, although they might not know they are connected to AFib. The symptoms could show up regularly or infrequently. They might also flit in and out.
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), one of the additional tests, is the most accurate way to identify and confirm the presence of AFib.
Your doctor could advise you to wear a monitor or recorder to catch AFib if it periodically occurs. Wearing a Holter monitor or portable event monitor may be suggested by your doctor so they may study the data gathered over time.
Different types of treatments include medications, therapies, and surgery. You may be prescribed medications to normalise your rapid heartbeats.
Medication (ref. link) is also prescribed to prevent blood clots. Common medication includes,
Atrial fibrillation is a complex and common heart condition that needs more awareness among people. If you encounter signs of AFib, you must see a doctor. Your doctor can determine if your heartbeat is irregular by feeling your pulse or using a stethoscope to listen to your heart. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider or physician and learn more about available resources and support communities.
Finally, AFib events can be hard to pinpoint without the right technology. Check out the Frontier X2 and it’s continuous ECG monitoring feature that gives you the best chance at catching an AFib event.
The symptoms of Afib can be subtle and confusing. The symptoms could be fatigue, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating and pain in the chest.
To know if you have Afib it is essential to record your pulse rate. In order to do so, firmly place the index and middle finger of your right hand on the wrist of your left hand. Count the pulse for 30 seconds and double the reading to get the beats per minute. A normal heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute, but during an Afib the count is considerably higher than 100 beats per minute (ref. link).
For people with underlying heart conditions and potential risk of Afib, laying on the left side in the lateral position can be a common trigger for Afib. This situation is also associated with being overweight (ref. link)
There are various ways to stop an Afib episode (ref. link) :