Atrial Fibrillation Awareness

Posted in Alerts

Fifty four years ago, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed February as American Heart Month. At that time, heart problems caused more than half of U.S. deaths. The number of deaths from heart disease is expected to be 23.6 million by the year 2030. Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common heart arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats either too slow or too fast. The CDC estimates that 2.7 - 6.1 million U.S. citizens have AFib; some people are unaware they have it.

As you get older, you increase your chances of contracting AFib. With  AFib, a person’s risk for a stroke increases four to five times compared with those who do not have AFib. Each year, there are more than half a million hospitalizations occurring due to AFib. Of that number, it contributes to 130,000 deaths each year.

When someone experiences heart failure, it usually means the heart is not pumping enough blood for the body. When working properly, the 4 chambers of the heart contract in an organized way.
With AFib, the heart beats irregularly – usually too fast which means it never properly fills up with blood for the body to pump out.

How can I combat my chances of contracting AFib?
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to review any AFib signs or symptoms. Your doctor may order an ECG (Electrocardiogram) exam since this is a primary tool for a diagnosis. It is always best to review all treatment options with your doctor.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pulse that feels rapid, racing, pounding, fluttering, irregular, or too slow
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Fainting and/or Fatigue
  • Loss of ability to exercise
  • Shortness of breath