Do you have atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation can be defined as an abnormal heart rhythm. This may also be called arrhythmia. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the USA currently have this condition.
When a person has atrial fibrillation, what happens is that the blood flowing from the top chambers of the heart to the bottom chambers differs from beat to beat. This results in the heart being unable to pump blood to the complete body efficiently.
What are the likely symptoms?
Sometimes, atrial fibrillation does not have any symptoms and even when there are symptoms, these could be intermittent. However, it’s important to stay aware and watch out for these warning signs such as palpitations, breathlessness, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, low blood pressure, light-headedness, shortness of breath, weakness and so on.
The major reasons for atrial fibrillation are any kind of abnormalities or damage to the structure of the heart. These could be caused by heart attack, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, lung disease, viral infections, lung diseases, abnormal heart valves, heart surgery, sleep apnea, stimulants such as caffeine or tobacco, alcohol and so on.
Atrial fibrillation can be quite dangerous. The abnormal rhythm in the heartbeat can cause the pooling of blood in the upper chambers of the heart and this goes on to form blood clots. When this happens, there is the possibility that the blood clot travels via the blood stream to the brain and block blood flow. This can result in a stroke.
The other big danger of atrial fibrillation is that it causes the heart to weaken. This could result in the heart being unable to efficiently circulate blood to the body and this is known as heart failure.