Tag: atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is an arrhythmia in the top chambers of the heart (atria) causing uncoordinated muscular contractions that weaken the heart’s ability to pump. It is characterized by rapid and irregular beating.

Often it starts as brief periods of abnormal beating which become longer and possibly constant over time. Most episodes have no symptoms. Occasionally there may be heart palpitations, fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pain. The disease increases the risk of heart failure, dementia, and stroke.

Although atrial fibrillation itself usually isn’t life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.

Hypertension and valvular heart disease are the most common alterable risk factors for AF. Other heart-related risk factors include heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and congenital heart disease. In the developing world, valvular heart disease often occurs as a result of rheumatic fever. Lung-related risk factors include COPD, obesity, and sleep apnea.

Other factors include excess alcohol intake, diabetes mellitus, and thyrotoxicosis. However, half of cases are not associated with one of these risks.

A diagnosis is made by feeling the pulse and may be confirmed using an electrocardiogram (ECG). The typical ECG shows no P waves and an irregular ventricular rate.

AF is often treated with medications to slow the heart rate to a near normal range (known as rate control) or to convert the rhythm to normal sinus rhythm (known as rhythm control). Electrical cardioversion can also be used to convert AF to a normal sinus rhythm and is often used emergently if the person is unstable. Ablation may prevent recurrence in some people. Depending on the risk of stroke, either aspirin or anti-clotting medications such as warfarin or a novel oral anticoagulant may be recommended. While these medications reduce this risk, they increase rates of major bleeding.

Dementia Types: Reversible and Irreversible Dementia

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Let’s look at reversible dementias first. It’s important

Get Help Fast for Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms

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Manage Hyperthyroidism to Prevent Cardiac Complications

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One other area in particular that is vulnerable to untreated hyperthyroidism is your

Cardiomyopathy: Understand the Different Types and Causes

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Blood Thinners: Balancing the Benefits and Risks

So-called “blood thinners” (anticoagulant drugs) can help prevent dangerous blood clots in people with the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation (AFib), in which the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) beat irregularly and ineffectively. “This causes blood to pool in the atria,” says Jonathan Halperin, MD, director of clinical

Two-Way Connection Between Heart Attack and AFib Found

Previously, it had been established that having a heart attack raises the risk of having atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition that produces an irregular and/or fast heartbeat. Now, researchers have determined that the connection appears to work both ways, and that having AFib is associated with an increased risk of

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Determining Which Anti-Clotting Drug is Best Suited for You

For half a century, warfarin (Coumadin) was the only oral medication option to help lower the risk of blood clots in people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) or other conditions that raise the risk of clot formation. But in recent years, new anticoagulant medications have been developed and approved for

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