Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). It is estimated that around 1% of the global population suffers from AFib, with this number rising as high as 7.1% in those over age 60. While AFib might not seem immediately life-threatening to some people, it can be the cause of a variety of health problems. AFib is responsible for 10% of all strokes and can lead to blood clots that may cause pulmonary embolisms or myocardial infractions (heart attacks). The most common form of treatment for AFib is medication, including blood thinners like Warfarin (Coumadin). This is used because it dramatically reduces the risk of blood clots. Still, unlike most other forms of medication, it requires frequent check-ups by a specialist in atrial fibrillation in Frisco and can lead to severe internal bleeding.
Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
The causes of this condition are largely unknown. Still, they are believed to result from various factors, including genetics, high blood pressure, obesity, hormone imbalances, and irregular heart rate. Because it is often associated with other health problems like stroke or heart attack, many people do not treat AFib as seriously as they should. Because there are no severe symptoms present, they are unaware of how serious it can be. Many doctors will not even order tests for this problem unless the person has shown signs in the past.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
One of the first symptoms of AFib is a racing heartbeat, which can often be felt by others who are near you. Other common symptoms include palpitations (rapid heart rate), shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, especially when lying down, fatigue, or lightheadedness. These are all warning signs that one’s heart may be beating irregularly, and one should consult a physician as soon as possible.
Treatment Options for Atrial Fibrillation
The most common treatment option is medication, which often includes blood thinners. This can often help with the abnormal heartbeat but may not always stop it completely. In cases where the person has already suffered a heart attack or stroke, they may need to undergo surgery to implant an artificial pacemaker.
Most people who suffer from AFib do not require treatment, and their condition can go away on its own without any intervention. However, for those who have already had a significant health event caused by AFib or other problems, it is a much more severe issue. To treat this condition effectively, one should consult with a doctor specializing in the heart and understands how to diagnose and treat patients appropriately.
It is important to remember that medications like Warfarin (Coumadin) can be hazardous and lead to problems with major organs. If they do develop, these issues may not present themselves until after the patient takes the medication for a long time. It is significant for people who take this kind of medication to watch for signs of internal bleeding (nosebleeds that do not stop, bloody urine, or coughing up blood) and contact their doctor immediately if any of these symptoms appear.
In summary, atrial fibrillation is a common form of cardiac arrhythmia. The primary cause of atrial fibrillation remains unknown. It may cause symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, palpitations, and shortness of breath. Treatment mainly includes medication, but the condition can also go away on its own.