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.

The 4 Heart Problem Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

The 4 Heart Problem Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., so it’s important that you can recognize the signs of a heart problem. Symptoms of heart disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), and heart failure sometimes overlap. But if you’re at risk for any

8. Treating Hypertension

Usually, a diagnosis of hypertension comes with a prescription for a blood-pressure-lowering, or antihypertensive, medication. Eventually, many people with hypertension require two or more drugs to control their blood pressure.
You and your doctor have plenty of blood-pressure-lowering medications to choose from. Each type of drug works somewhat differently has its

4. The Harms of High Blood Pressure

There’s a good reason why high blood pressure is called the “silent killer.” Yet, while hypertension remains insidious, it is stealthily damaging your arteries, and also the organs and other tissues that rely on the blood that these vessels deliver to them.
Damage to Your Arteries
Atherosclerosis
Hypertension contributes to atherosclerosis, or “hardening”

3. High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

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As with most medical conditions, hypertension has certain

3. Know Your Cardiovascular Risk

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2. Cholesterol and Your Heart

To understand how cholesterol affects your cardiovascular health, it helps to understand the workings of your heart and vascular system.
The Heart
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6. Medication for Arthritis

illions of Americans suffer on a daily basis from the pain, reduced mobility, and loss of function caused by arthritis. The condition can significantly affect work, leisure, and home life. Chronic pain, a common feature in arthritis, can rob the sufferer of his or her joy and zest for life.

Blood Thinners: Consider Safety Along with Convenience

Blood Thinners: Consider Safety Along with Convenience

Whether you have atrial fibrillation (Afib) or a history of developing blood clots in your legs or lungs, you need to talk to your doctor about taking an oral anticoagulant medication. In a person with Afib, these blood thinners can prevent a blood clot from forming in the heart, traveling

There is Still a Role for Warfarin

Blood thinners help prevent blood clots that can form in the legs and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially life-threatening pulmonary embolism, or that form in the heart due to the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation (these clots can travel to the brain, causing a stroke). The drugs don’t

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