September is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness month!

Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.

It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, and debilitating pain.

AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold. It is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system. As the world population ages, the prevalence of AFib is projected to increase. In fact, in the next 30-40 years, the number of people in diagnosed with AFib in the U.S. is expected to more than double.

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), through its efforts during Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in September and throughout the year, is working to increase public knowledge of AFib, including its symptoms, warning signs, and available treatment options.

via Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Awareness.

Stroke Warning Signs!

 

Learn to recognize a stroke, because time lost is brain lost.

Call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY if one or more of the following symptoms suddenly occur:

Numbness or Weakness

Of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Confusion

Or trouble speaking or understanding

Vision Disturbances

Or trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Loss of Balance or Coordination

Dizziness or trouble walking

Severe Headache

With no known cause

A stroke is a medical emergency!

If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

 

via http://powertoendstroke.org/tools-family-tree.html.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF)

 

More than 10 million people in India have atrial fibrillation, making it a very common heart rhythm disorder. In AF, the heartbeat is irregular and rapid, sometimes beating as often as 300 times a minute, about four times faster than normal. Although it isn’t life threatening, A Fib can lead to other rhythm problems, chronic fatigue and congestive heart failure. Chances of having a stroke are five times higher for those with A Fib. There are a number of effective treatments to control A Fib (for consistency) and/or reduce the risk that it will cause serious health problems.

 

What’s is AF?

AF is nothing but fast beating of the upper chambers of the heart (atria).

 

What does AF cause?

Patients with AF feel severe palpitations, uneasiness in the chest and sometimes breathlessness.

 

What harm can AF cause?

The greatest harm that AF causes is Stroke or Paralytic attacks. These are due to blood clots occluding the arteries in the brain circulation. Also if the individual has a persistently high heart rate, it can cause weakness of the heart muscle.

 

Where do these blood clots come from?

These blood clots are formed in the upper chambers of the heart. Due to
AF, there is stasis of blood in the upper chambers/ atria and this causes blood clots to form. These blood clots can then migrate to the brain causing strokes.

 

How do I prevent strokes if I have AF?

One needs to take tablets called blood thinners to prevent clot formation. Elderly patients and patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and weak hearts are more likely to have strokes and so need to be on blood thinners.

 

How can AF be treated?

AF can be treated by medications prescribed by your cardiologist. Some of the patients can be cured by a procedure called Ablation in the early stages.