Atrial fibrillation, aka rapid heartbeat, AF, or AFib, is the most common irregular heartbeat condition wherein your heart beats irregularly and fast (500-600 beats/minute). While atrial fibrillation can be dangerous, is it life-threatening?
If you have the above question hovering in your mind, this blog is for you. In addition to that, you’ll also find decent information about this condition (atrial fibrillation), such as its signs and symptoms, possible causes, diagnosis, and treatment. So, read in full.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
As stated earlier, it’s the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia or rapid heartbeat condition, which can lead to clots in your heart.
When atrial fibrillation occurs, your heart’s atria (upper chambers) beat irregularly or out of sync with the ventricles (lower chambers). This nonsynchronous movement is what leads to complications and increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and even other complications.
So, is Atrial Fibrillation Life Threatening?
While Atrial Fibrillation is a serious disorder that might sometimes lead to heart strokes, it usually is treatable and non-life-threatening. The right treatment, especially at the right time, can help you deal with this issue effectively and avert the danger.
What Causes Atrial Fibrillation?
Usually, abnormal heart structure is what leads to atrial fibrillation or rapid heartbeat. However, there are other possible causes, too, such as:
- Heart Valve Issue
- Lung Diseases
- Heart Surgeries
- Sleep Apnea
- Metabolic Imbalance
- Consumption of Tobacco or Alcohol
- Heart Defects by Birth
- Coronary Heart Disease
What Increases the Risk of Rapid Heartbeat or Atrial Fibrillation?
Here are some factors that increase the risk of atrial fibrillation:
- Blood Pressure: People who’re suffering from high BP are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.
- Age: The older you are, the greater the risk of you developing atrial fibrillation.
- Thyroid Diseases: Thyroid problems are known to mess with your cardiac rhythms, which can lead to atrial fibrillation.
- Heart Diseases: If you have had heart failure in the past or a history of heart attacks, this again puts you at risk.
- Obesity and Alcohol: Being obese also puts you at the risk of a rapid heartbeat. Consuming alcohol is also known to trigger an episode of fibrillation.
Get yourself tested by opting Heart Health Comprehensive Package to keep an eye on your current health status, so that you can minimize the risks by making relevant changes in your lifestyle.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of this Condition?
Atrial fibrillation is quite tricky. It’s because sometimes, people suffering from this condition don’t exhibit any symptoms. Here’s what the people who are an asymptomatic experience:
- Shortness of Breath
- Reduced Endurance or Ability to Exercise
- Chest Pain
How can you Diagnose Atrial Fibrillation or Rapid Heartbeat?
Diagnosing atrial fibrillation isn’t a piece of cake. Your doctor may write several tests that you might have to go through for diagnosis. The most common test, though, is:
ECG or EKG or Electrocardiogram
It’s a painless procedure that measures the electrical activity of your heart. Electrodes or sticky patches are applied on your chest and sometimes on your arms and legs. These electrodes are attached to a computer via wires that displays the results. Basically, ECG tells the doctor whether the heart is beating too fast or too slow.
Here are some other tests your doctor might order:
- Holter monitor
- Blood Test
- Chest X-Ray
- Event Recorder
- Stress Test
What Can you Do to Deal with Atrial Fibrillation or Raid Heartbeat?
Treating or dealing with atrial fibrillation is fairly tough. It actually depends on how long you’ve been suffering from this condition and its underlying cause. The motive, however, of the treatment is to:
- Prevent blood clots and thus prevent the risk of a heart attack.
- Control the abnormal heart rate.
- Reset the heart rhythm to normal.
Whatever the case, here are the three types of treatments you can go for:
You can think of lifestyle changes as preventive measures to ensure good heart health and reduce the chances of atrial fibrillation. Here are some common lifestyle changes that might help:
- Exercise Regularly
- Consume Diet Low in Trans Fats, Saturated Fats, and Salt
- Avoid Excessive Caffeine or Alcohol Consumption
- Quit Smoking
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Consume More Fruits and Vegetables
- Monitor your Health Closely
- Visit your Doctor Regularly
A medical professional may prescribe you different medications to prevent blood clots and to bring back the regular rhythm of your heart such as:
- Blood Thinners: To Prevent Clots.
- Antiarrhythmic Medications: To Maintain Normal Heart Rhythm.
- Digoxin: To Control Heart Rate at Rest.
- Calcium Channel Blockers: To Control Heart Rate.
- Beta-Blockers: To Slow your Heart Rate During Activity
In case the lifestyle changes and medications don’t seem to work, you may have to undergo surgery which usually treats the problem effectively. However, let’s hope you maintain good heart health by following small lifestyle changes and never suffer from this condition.
Rapid heartbeat or atrial fibrillation is something you need to stay from. While you cannot inevitably prevent this condition, you can reduce its symptoms with lifestyle changes and medications and completely get rid of it via surgery. So, there’s nothing to worry about. Just keep your heart health in top condition, and you’ll most probably never cross paths with this disease.