WHAT IS AF ?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common heart rhythm disturbance encountered by doctors.

It can affect adults of any age, but it is more common as people get older. In the over 65 year old age group, it affects about 10% of people. Atrial fibrillation is not a life-threatening heart rhythm problem, but it can be troublesome and often requires treatment.

Atrial fibrillation or AFib occurs when chaotic electrical activity develops in the upper chambers or atria, and completely takes over from the sinus node. As a result, the atria no longer beat in an organized way, and pump less efficiently. The AV node will stop some of these very rapid impulses from traveling to the ventricles, but the ventricles will still beat irregularly and possibly rapidly.

Symptoms of AF

Palpitations

Otherwise known as awareness of the heartbeat, palpitations are the most common symptom of AFib. They may be rapid. The term ‘palpitations’ can mean different things to different people but it generally refers to feeling that something is abnormal about the heartbeat.

Tiredness

The causes of tiredness may be difficult to isolate or pin down, but this can mean anything from a general lack of energy and decreased exercise tolerance to chronic fatigue. Sometimes, if antiarrhythmic medication can cause tiredness. Tiredness may also be a feature of people who have AFib alongside heart failure.

Breathlessness

Breathlessness can be mild to acute, and can be due to rapid ventricular activity.

Dizziness or lightheadedness

Blackout (syncope)

Chest pain or discomfort (angina)

Sleep disturbance or insomnia

No symptoms at all

 

This can be the case even for people with permanent AFib. It is important that AFib is diagnosed quickly, but often it is only discovered at a routine medical examination or accidentally after visiting the doctor with an unrelated health problem. The patient may have been already suffering with it unknowingly for several years. Sometimes it may be only discovered at an ER department in a patient who has presented with a stroke, the very condition that medication could have prevented. (Text copyright AFAssociation)

 

For more Informations visit: https://www.heartrhythmalliance.org

 

 

 

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