The term for it is atrial fibrillation and it is a creepy disease that may result in a variety of symptoms and even stroke. AF, as it is normally called, occurs when your heart beats irregularly and the reason for it is simple.
The atria which are the upper two chambers of the heart start beating faster than the ventricles (which by the way are the lower chambers). Thus blood pools in the atria and this causes everything from rapid heartbeat to breathlessness not to mention pain in the chest region.
There may be weakness and dizziness due to problems having to do with proper blood circulation. And fatigue is a possible reaction as well. Like its cousin, hypertension or high blood pressure, this disease is a slow killer.
Atrial fibrillation symptoms include:
- shortness of breath, and
It almost creeps up on you and without any symptoms so that by the time you finally are able to identify it, it is too late. Therefore if you suffer from any of the symptoms, you ought to notify your physician who will take you through a battery of tests.
According to MedicineNet, there are many risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation. These risk factors are:
- Increased age (1% of people over 60 years of age have atrial fibrillation)
- Coronary heart disease (including heart attack)
- High blood pressure Abnormal heart muscle function (including congestive heart failure)
- Disease of the mitral valve between the left and right ventricle
- An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or overdose of thyroid medication
- Low amounts of oxygen in the blood, for example, as occurs with lung diseases such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Inflammation of the lining surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
- Blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
- Chronic lung diseases (emphysema, asthma, COPD)
- Excessive intake of alcohol (alcoholism)
- Stimulant drug use such as cocaine or decongestants
- Recent heart or lung surgery
- Abnormal heart structure from the time of birth (congenital heart disease)
If you have the malady, than a mixture of care and cure is very necessary. Although there are few precautions you can take at home, you will have to take your medications regularly.
The first medicine that comes in handy is digitalis or Digoxin. It corrects the heartbeat. Of course, the real reason behind the irregular heartbeat is the mismatched electrical signals from the heart’s natural pacemaker.
Then you will have to control any high blood pressure by forswearing stimulants such as coffee and chocolate and taking Tenormin. Alcohol too will have to be given the “au revoir” signal since it is not good for this condition.
Ultimately, you will have to follow the same regimen as 2.2 million Americans who have the disease. It may be a little troublesome to take the medicine on a daily basis, but it is better than suffering the consequences.
Some other treatments of atrial fibrillation include:
- reversing the factors that cause atrial fibrillation;
- slowing the heart rate with medications;
- preventing strokes;
- converting atrial fibrillation to a normal heart rhythm with medications or electrical shock;
- preventing the recurrence of atrial fibrillation with medications; and
- using procedures (for example, pacemakers, defibrillators, surgery) to prevent episodes of atrial fibrillation.