Afib FAQ’s

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Need to know about Atrial Fibrillation

* Atrial  fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm disorder.  Afib increases the risk for heart attack  stroke and congestive heart failure, all leading causes of death in the United States.  At least 2.2 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.  Many more may have it and are un-aware they have it.

* Atrial fibrillation is the quivering of the top right chamber of the heart.  It is characterized by a rapid and irregular beat that can cause serious complications, even death.  If your heart rate is rapid and irregular go see your doctor NOW!.  Ideal adult pulse is steady with regular rates of 60–80 beats per minute.

* Deaths associated with atrial fibrillation have increased over the past two decades.  Overall, the age-standardized death rate (per 100, 000 US population) increased from 27.6 in 1980 to 69.8 in 1998.  This increase may be associated with the advancing age of our general population – see Baby Boomers.

* The prevalence of atrial fibrillation increases markedly with age,  from less than 1 percent for those younger than age 60 to roughly 1 in every 10 persons aged 80 years or older.

* Men tend to have a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation than women, and whites have a higher prevalence than African Americans.

* Other factors associated with the development of atrial fibrillation include hypertension, congestive heart failure, previous myocardial infarction, diabetes, being overweight and even snoring.(sleep apnea)

* Atrial fibrillation (AF) accounts for one fourth of all strokes in the elderly.  The American Heart Association reports that in the U.S., AF is estimated to be responsible for over 70,000 strokes each year.

* Anti-arrhythmia medications can help regularize the heart rhythm and help prevent the arrhythmia from happening again.  In addition, medications that reduce the risk of blood clot formation (aspirin and warfarin are the two most common) can help reduce stroke risk in persons with atrial fibrillation.

* Signs and symptoms that suggest the presence of atrial fibrillation include a sensation of missed or extra heartbeats, an unexplained rapid heartbeat, or palpitation.  Some people have few noticeable symptoms and may be putting themselves at grave risk and not even know it.

* You can identify an irregular heartbeat simply by monitoring your wrist pulse for 1 minute.  The irregularity of these beats is easy to detect as the next beat cannot be predicted.  Persons who identify the signs of cardiac arrhythmia(afib) should seek medical advice and determine the presence of AF or other heart disorders.

* Consult your doctor immediately if you believe you have an irregular heart rhythm or palpitations.

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