Atrial fibrillation can be understood as an irregular and usually rapid heart rate that has the potential to increase a patient’s risk of heart failure, strokes, and other cardiovascular complications. During atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heartbeat irregularly and chaotically. In other words, their coordination with the two lower chambers is lost. In some cases, the episodes of atrial fibrillation come and go, while in others, atrial fibrillation may not go away and patients may have to seek treatment. The biggest concern with atrial fibrillation has to do with a blood clot developing in the heart and getting pumped to another essential organ, leading to a blockage of blood flow to the organ. Below are some important things that you should know about atrial fibrillation in Frisco, TX.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
In some cases, patients with atrial fibrillation may have no symptoms and they may not be aware of the condition until it is spotted by a physician during a physical exam. In other cases, signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include palpitation, weakness, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. The symptoms may be occasional, persistent, or even permanent.
Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation usually occurs when the upper chambers of the heart experience irregular and chaotic electrical signals, leading to fast and irregular heartbeats. This can be attributed to damages and abnormalities in the structure of the heart. Some possible causes for this include high blood pressure, heart attack, viral infections, lung disease, coronary artery disease, heart surgery, sleep apnea, abnormal heart valves, congenital defects, and an overactive thyroid, among others. However, in some cases, some patients with atrial fibrillation do not have any noticeable heart damages or defects. In such cases, the issue is usually known as lone atrial fibrillation and the cause is usually unclear. However, in cases of lone fibrillation, complications are very rare.
Clearly, the causes of atrial fibrillation are many and they can differ from one case to another. In some cases, they are not even clear. However, there are several factors that have been associated with a high risk of getting atrial fibrillation. Some of the risk factors for atrial fibrillation include obesity, family history of atrial fibrillation, chronic conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome, excessive consumption of alcohol, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among others.
Prevention and Treatment
For you to prevent or reduce your chances of getting atrial fibrillation, it is imperative for you to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. Some of the steps that you can take to this end include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Avoiding smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Managing stress
- Regular visits to a cardiovascular physician for checkups
Once you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, there are several treatments that your doctor can try to put your heart under control again. Some of them include:
- Resetting the rhythm of the heart using drugs or electrical cardioversion
- Maintaining the normal heart rhythm using drugs such as Flecainide and Propafenone, among others
- Heart rate control using beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and Digoxin
- Catheter and surgical procedures
- Prevention of blood clots using anticoagulants