Did you know that atrial fibrillation is the most common diagnosis of heart arrhythmia in the United States? In fact, it is estimated that there will be 6 to 12 million Americans diagnosed with Afib by the year 2050.
You may think with such a common heart issue. There would be a cure for Afib. But unfortunately, there is no cure currently. However, it is possible to manage Afib with a variety of medications and lifestyle changes.
Early detection is key for successful control over it. The longer someone has Afib and does not treat it, the harder Afib is to control. Seeing your doctor regularly is crucial in managing your condition.
Many doctors will order a routine electrocardiogram (ECG). By the atrial fibrillation’s ECG, the doctor may determine if the patient has Afib.
Keep reading on to learn more about the risks of Afib and how treatments can help to improve someone living with atrial fibrillation’s life expectancy.
Health Risks Associated With Afib
If Afib is left untreated, it can lead to several other health problems. Other potential health problems due to untreated Afib include:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Blood clots
- Heart failure
All three of these can shorten your life expectancy, which is why it’s crucial to manage Afib the best you can.
Abnormal Heart Rhythm
While an abnormal heart rhythm alone may not be life-threatening, it can lead to serious complications when left untreated.
Afib can cause blood to pool in the atria because the heart is not beating strong enough in the atria to pump out the blood. When the blood pools, it starts to clump together, which causes blood clots to form.
These clots can cause serious health issues and lead to death then these clots move to other organs in the body. For example, a blood clot to the brain can cause a stroke.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has found some alarming statistics linking Afib to stokes. According to the AHA, one in five people who suffer from a stroke has atrial fibrillation.
Afib can cause the heart muscles to become weak over time. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump out enough blood to maintain the body’s needs.
The two main causes of death due to Afib are heart failure and stroke.
Factors That Determine Afib Prognosis
Several factors affect the prognosis of someone diagnosed with Afib, which includes:
- Type of Afib (i.e., persistent, permanent, or paroxysmal Afib)
- Other preexisting health conditions
- CRP levels
- Smoking history
Unfortunately, there is not much someone can do to lower their risk factors. But, managing other health conditions and quitting smoking can help.
Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
Lifestyle changes to improve the prognosis of Afib include:
- Weight loss
- Eating healthy
Sometimes these lifestyle changes are not enough, and additional medications or medical or surgical interventions are required to help treat an Afib diagnosis. Additional medical interventions and medications to discuss with your doctor include:
- Blood thinners
- Antiarrhythmic medications
- Catheter ablation
- Maze surgery
Make sure you talk with your doctor to determine what treatment options you should consider to help with the prognosis of your Afib.
Atrial Fibrillation Life Expectancy
While there is no cure for Afib, treatment options and lifestyle changes can help improve people living with atrial fibrillation life expectancy.
Since Afib increases the chance of serious medical conditions such as stroke and heart failure, people must get diagnoses early and take treatment options seriously.
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