Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart condition that affects over 3 million people in the U.S. It is an irregular heartbeat that does not allow blood to flow effectively through the heart. This can lead to serious complications.
Although AFib is a common condition, many people don't realize that it is also a serious one. If left untreated, AFib can lead to a five times greater risk of stroke. Other risks of uncontrolled AFib include heart failure and dementia.
Many people are unaware that they have AFib because the symptoms aren't always easy to recognize. Once you know the signs of AFib, don't ignore them. Effective treatment options are available to reduce your risk of stroke.
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation
The symptoms of Afib range from mild to severe. Symptoms often associated with AFib include:
shortness of breath
If you have these symptoms, your primary care provider can help you seek proper diagnosis and treatment. Doctors often confirm a diagnosis of AFib through an electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG is a painless test that measures your heart's activity.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation
If you are diagnosed with AFib, your physician will recommend treatment options based on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include making lifestyle changes and taking medicines to control the irregular heartbeat and reduce your risk of stroke. Minimally invasive procedures can also control or eliminate an irregular heartbeat.
Treatment with medications is an effective way to manage AFib. In order for the medicines to work, they must be taken as prescribed. Regular checkups with your doctor are also necessary to make sure the medicines are working well.
If your symptoms are severe or you're unable to tolerate the medications, your physician may recommend a minimally invasive procedure. Minimally invasive treatments for AFib include traditional ablation, cryoablation and The Watchman. All of these procedures are available at The Christ Hospital. Watch this brief video to learn more about our Cardiac Rhythm Program and its impact on our patients' lives.