Many people fear that everyday acts of forgetfulness, such as not remembering where you put your car keys, are early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Although forgetfulness can be an early warning sign, the memory loss of Alzheimer’s disease is more serious than normal age-related memory difficulties. Misplacing your keys only … Read More
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.
Often, high blood pressure is a byproduct of an unhealthy lifestyle or other modifiable factors. Here are five blood pressure risk factors that you can modify with some guidance from your doctor.
An Unhealthy, High-Sodium Diet
You’re probably aware that sodium is the dietary devil when it comes to high blood pressure. … Read More
Vitamin B12 is best known—and most promoted—as a cure for fatigue, but this vitamin is important for much more than keeping energy levels up. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include everything from depression, fatigue, and memory loss to canker sores and dizziness.
Vitamin B12 … Read More
It’s important to make sure your diet contains sufficient amounts of the selenium, an important trace element that is necessary for healthy brain, immune system, thyroid, reproductive, and lung function. Make sure these selenium foods play a starring role in your regular diet.
11 Foods High in Selenium
- Brazil nuts (these … Read More
Exercise can be useful for normalizing sleep patterns. Exercise not only burns calories and body fat, it also helps to reduce stress and raises body temperature, potentially promoting deep sleep at night. Engaging in yoga for sleep improvement, in particular, has even more benefits on your overall health.
An analysis of … Read More
Up to 60 percent of adults have had nocturnal leg cramps. These recurrent, painful cramps usually strike the calf muscles and can cause frequent awakenings and severe insomnia. They are more common in people aged 50 years and older. If you’ve suffered through them, read on … Read More
Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the human body, is best known for its important role in bone health and protection from osteoporosis. However, in addition to its key role in imparting strength to bones and teeth, calcium plays a critical role as a messenger in … Read More
One of the most important, yet most neglected, aspects of depression treatment is preventing depression from returning. Relapse refers to the returning signs of depression after a period of weeks or months of doing well. The term recurrence sometimes refers to a relapse that occurs late, after many months … Read More
Once your medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests have been evaluated, your medical provider may diagnose you with one of the following types of arthritis. It also is possible that you may be diagnosed with a multisystem disorder.
OA is the main cause of degenerative arthritis. It can affect … Read More
It happened just like that. You sat on the couch, spoon in hand, to enjoy a few spoonfuls of your favorite ice cream. Suddenly, you were staring down the barrel of an empty carton, with remnants of Rocky Road splattered on your chin. “Not again,” you cried. As you pondered … Read More