Beating The Odds – What to do if you have Atrial Fibrillation.
The goal for afib treatment is to stop the afib and restore the normal, regular rhythm of the heart’s beat which means – regain normal sinus rhythm.
Steps for Afib Treatment – You must:
1. Get back in sinus rhythm NOW – If possible!
2. Avoid a stroke or serious long term damage to your heart. – Anticoagulate.
3. Maintain sinus rhythm and avoid recurrences of afib.
4. If the above fails – get your heart rate under control and anticoagulate.
Sometimes, this can be done with medications or the use of electrical stimulation(cardioversion). If these efforts do not work, afib treatment concentrates on protecting yourself from the blood clots the fast and erratic heart rate may cause that could travel from the heart to the brain, causing strokes.
To reduce the risk of stroke, your doctor will immediately prescribe blood thinning medications, which can greatly reduce stroke risk if taken properly. While most afib related strokes could be prevented with blood thinners, up to two-thirds of AF patients who had strokes either were not prescribed these medications or decided not to take them!
Anticoagulants are drugs that can help prevent blood clots such as Warfarin(Coumadin). They can reduce the risk of first stroke in AF patients by 68 percent. There are several reasons why current drugs are not being prescribed, including interactions with diet and other drugs, the necessity for frequent blood tests and monitoring and worries about increased risk of bleeding. There are new drugs on the horizon that may have fewer of these complications.(see Dabigatran)
The above standard afib treatment may sound easy and straight forward – IT IS NOT! As my own story demonstrates, Atrial Fibrillation and it’s control and/or cure requires time and persistence but to give up is not an option.