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.

What Is Vascular Dementia?

What Is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular dementia (VaD) ranks second among memory loss causes after Alzheimer’s disease, yet it is often overlooked. But what is vascular dementia?

The condition is caused by vascular problems affecting memory regions and supporting structures in the brain, and is closely associated with cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease. Causes of vascular

Getting Treatment for Sleep Apnea Can Help Protect Your Health

The amount and quality of your sleep can play a major role in your health. A growing body of research indicates that a sleep disorder called sleep apnea is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, complications following general anesthesia, accidents due to fatigue,

Diagnosed With a Heart Arrhythmia?

Heart arrhythmia is the broad term for any heart rhythm that isn’t completely normal. But while some abnormal rhythms can cause complications if they aren’t treated, you shouldn’t panic if you’re told you have an arrhythmia. “Even if your condition is potentially serious, keep in mind that many advances have

Q&A: Kidney Disease; Yoga; Afib; Calcium

Q. I have an uncle with end-stage kidney disease. Can you tell me more about this disease, and who is at risk?
A. Interestingly, 26 million Americans have kidney disease, many of whom are unaware of it, and 76 million more are at high risk of developing it. The disease kills

Newsbriefs: Nut Consumption; Anticoagulants; Migraine Treatment

Regular Nut Consumption May Lower Risk of Common Arrhythmia.
Nuts are chock full of heart-healthy nutrients, including unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, minerals, vitamin E and folate. These compounds may be responsible for nuts’ newly discovered ability to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) and maybe heart failure, as well.

Exercise Can Lower Inherited Heart Risk

For years, doctors have recommended exercise as a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle, designed to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. A large study published online April 9, 2018, in Circulation confirmed that higher levels of fitness were associated with lower risk of these cardiovascular events, as

Dementia Types: Irreversible and Reversible Dementia

Dementia Types: Irreversible and Reversible Dementia

Various dementia types can be caused by medical or psychiatric conditions, among them high fever, vitamin deficiency, head trauma, or depression. These are the so-called “reversible dementias.” Other dementia types are irreversible and—if you’re wondering, “Is dementia hereditary?”—can be caused by family genes.

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

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

Timely Treatment Can Prevent Complications from Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib), an abnormal heart rhythm, is estimated to affect as many as 6 million Americans, and there is evidence that it can be more dangerous for women than for men.

“Women can sometimes have more severe AFib symptoms if the condition is left untreated,” explains Joy Gelbman, MD, a

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