Atrial Fibrillation

Health & Heart Science: What Causes Atrial Fibrillation?

If a doctor has recently diagnosed you with atrial fibrillation, you may not know what that means. It is time for some heart science, so you know how to take better care of yourself and keep your heart healthy.

Not treated, atrial fibrillation can raise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Keep on reading to find out how to prevent these problems, and live your best life.

Know Your Heart Science

It is the most common heart arrhythmia that gets treated, but what is atrial fibrillation? When someone gets AFib, as it gets called, the beating in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart is irregular. Blood does not flow as well as it should, from upper to lower heart chambers.

The arrhythmia can be too fast, too slow, or an irregular beat. That may happen in brief episodes or sometimes become permanent.

What happens to the heart during atrial fibrillation? Your heart rhythm gets thrown off. The upper and lower chambers of the heart are not in synch, so not enough blood flows to the rest of your body.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Diagnosing atrial fibrillation can get tricky because people don’t always have symptoms. AFib signs may be lightheadedness, fatigue, chest pain, or shortness of breath. Some experience fluttering or pounding heartbeat.

People may have some of these symptoms, while others have all of them or none at all. AFib gets diagnosed sometimes when tests are run on the heart to rule out other issues.

What Causes Atrial Fibrillation?

The risk of getting AFib goes up with age. People over 65 may have issues that weaken the heart.

Your lifestyle has a lot to do with AFib. Alcohol and illegal drugs can trigger atrial fibrillation or make it much worse.

Moderate exercise helps protect the heart. Physical fitness adds to your overall health, but intense workouts can make the risk of AFib worse.

Smoking is harmful to your heart in every way. It increases the risk of AFib, and it gets higher the longer you smoke, so stopping now has a positive effect.

Stress has gotten called the silent killer. Stressful situations and panic disorder can cause atrial fibrillation or increase the risk.

Conditions like sleep apnea and diabetes can raise the risk of having atrial fibrillation. Obesity is another risk, so shedding those excess pounds may help.

Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Lifestyle changes may help a lot. Reducing salt intake helps lower blood pressure, easing the strain on your heart.

Staying active helps keep your heart healthy. Aim for thirty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Your heart is a muscle, so when you work it, it grows stronger.

Medicines, such as beta-blockers and blood thinners, get prescribed when needed. In rarer cases, surgery treats atrial fibrillation.

Knowing some heart science goes a long way to help prevent and treat atrial fibrillation. Read some of our other posts for more valuable content!

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