Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month
September is Atrial Fibrillation awareness month. Atrial Fibrillation (often referred to as AFib) is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, affecting about 2.7 million people in the US. During AFib, an individual’s steady, normal heartbeat becomes chaotic and often rapid. The condition may lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
According to the National Stroke Association, patients being treated for AFib are five times more likely to suffer a stroke.
Awareness is key to preventing and managing AFib. It is important to see a doctor if symptoms occur because AFib is harder to treat once episodes become more persistent. Speak with elderly friends and family who may be at risk.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of AFib vary. Some people feel nothing. Others may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Heart palpitations (feels like the heart is racing, pounding or fluttering)
- Shortness of breath and anxiety
- Dizziness, faintness or confusion
- Trouble with everyday exercises or activities
- Chest pain or pressure
Prevention and Treatment
The best approach to preventing AFib is a heart-healthy lifestyle – healthy diet, physical activity, not smoking, limiting caffeine, alcohol and stress.
A doctor can diagnose AFib and help determine an appropriate treatment. The goal of treating AFib is to reduce symptoms and prevent stroke, blood clots, heart attack and heart failure. Treatment may come in the form of medication and/or surgical or nonsurgical procedures.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have AFib, speak with a doctor. If we can be of assistance, please contact us. SHC caregivers can help seniors maintain healthy habits to prevent AFib and are trained to spot potential symptoms. We’d love to share our expertise with you.
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