You have also the tendency to acquire AF if you have a family history of hypertension, hyperthyroidism, blockage in the arteries, cardiomyopathies, lung infections such as pneumonia, obesity, sleep apnea, or you have under a lot of alcohol or cigarette consumption.
Globally, approximately 15 million people suffer a stroke each year. It is not only a societal health that is on the line but the financial burden has been overwhelming for most countries, amounting to 3% of their total country's healthcare cost.
Most common cause of stroke is the precarious Atrial Fibrilation (AF). A common life-long condition, atrial fibrillation is a common type of irregular heart rhythm (arrythmia). This means that your heart has its own sense of timing and may beat very quickly or very slowly, rather than at a steady pace.
AF the rapid presents an irregular beating of the left atrium (upper chamber) of the heart. Because the rapid contractions of the heart are weaker than normal contractions, there is a slow flow of blood in the atrium and could highly result to formation of blood clots.
Dreadfully, clot from the heart can leave and travel to the brain and causes stroke.
You would be one of potential victim as for some, there are no present symptoms. Some people with AF have no symptoms, but others may experience quivers or pain in the chest, fainting, shortness of breath and fatigue.
How would you assess?
Let’s go with the basics. One heartbeat involves an electrical signal in the heart muscle. These signals are timed at regular intervals so your heart could pump steadily. People with AF have erratic signals and as their hearts flutter the pumping also fluctuates.
Many people suffer no symptoms of AF and just only learn that they are already experiencing it when emergency cases are presented or when they consult their physicians. Others could feel breathless, dizziness, lightheaded, and/or palpitation. In some cases, it is only after having a stroke that people find out they have AF. Know your AF symptoms. Hence, it is a must to visit your physician once these symptoms frequently arise.
Common causes of atrial fibrillation
There is no exact cause of atrial fibrillation but scientists agree that most common foundation of AF is abnormalities or damage to the heart's structure. You are also likely to develop it if you are aging as it is more common when people get older especially those aged over 65 years old. You have also the tendency to acquire AF if you have a family history of hypertension, hyperthyroidism, blockage in the arteries, cardiomyopathies, lung infections such as pneumonia, obesity, sleep apnea, or you have under a lot of alcohol or cigarette consumption.
The most common management done for people with permanent AF is slowing down their heart rate. The heart can function properly as long as the rate is controlled and these is done through medications such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, which makes it beat more slowly and quickly control the rate of it.
There are also ways to restore the heart rhythm. Most people with symptomatic paroxysmal or persistent AF undergo Cardioversion where either medications (pharmacological cardioversion) or by placing them under sleep and giving their hearts an electric shock (electrical cardioversion) to correct the erratic rhythm. After cardioversion, the patients need to maintain their beta blockers to avoid returning to AF. Beta blockers make your heart beat more slowly and with less force, thereby reducing blood pressure.
When experiencing symptoms of Atrial Fibrilation, it is best to immediately seek medical attention. There are several tests available to help you if you are at risk of AF or you are already experiencing one—ECGs from youe healthcare provider helps you assess the activity of your heart, echocardiogram to review the size or structure of your heart, event monitoring for its rhythm as well as the basic blood pressure check.
So ask yourself what you need to know about your heart and what changes can I make within my lifestyle to monitor and care for your heart.