Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you aid an early diagnosis of AFib.
Did you know that September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month? Now's the perfect time to learn more about the condition and understand the common signs and symptoms.
What is AFib?
According to the AFib Alliance, Atrial Fibrillation occurs when the two upper chamber of the heart beat at a rapid and unpredictable rate. It raises the risk of developing blood clots, which can ultimately lead to a stroke. This is a condition that can happen at any age, but it's most common in people 65 and older. Those living with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are at higher risk of experiencing AFib.
This condition is not deadly, however, it can lead to worse health conditions. But thankfully, diagnosing and treating AFib early on prevents between 60 and 80 percent of strokes. That's why it's so important to understand the condition and the signs and symptoms that come along with it for an early diagnosis.
Understanding the signs and symptoms
According to the American Heart Association, the most common symptom of AFib is a fluttering irregular heartbeat. The abnormal beating causes the top chambers of the heart to quiver, ultimately increasing one's risk of developing blood clots.
An irregular heartbeat might be the most common sign of AFib, but there are other various symptoms that could potentially signify if you are experiencing this condition. Here are a few of the more common symptoms you may notice:
- A "thumping" in your chest
- Shortness of breath
- Increased anxiety
- Fatigue while exercising
- Harsh chest pain or pressure
Remember, each person experiences different symptoms of AFib. If you are concerned about your health and feel as though you might be developing this condition, consider meeting with your doctor.
Complications caused by AFib
While AFib doesn't threaten your life, it could lead to conditions that worsen your health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, stroke and heart failure are the major complications to be aware of.
Stroke – With AFib, the heart's upper chambers don't properly pump all of the blood to the ventricles. This causes a mass of blood to build up in those chambers. When this happens, it increases the risk of blood clots forming. If a blood clot occurs and travels to the brain, it could lead to a stroke.
Heart failure – When the heart isn't pumping enough blood throughout the body, it can lead to heart failure. AFib can cause heart failure because the upper chambers are beating so fast that they can't fill with enough blood to transfer to the rest of the body.
If you notice any of the common signs and symptoms of AFib, it's in your best interest to visit your doctor to learn how you can treat the condition and lessen your risk of experiencing a stroke or heart failure. He can give you advice on treatment and guide you to living a healthier life that reduces your likeliness of experiencing this condition.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living