Understanding Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Approximately 33.5 million people around the world have Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. The World Health Organization actually designated AFib as a global epidemic. When left untreated, AFib can lead to serious complications like stroke and heart failure. That’s why it’s critical that you seek help as soon as you suspect or start experiencing symptoms. It also important to understand your risk for getting AFib.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation (Afib) include:
- Heart palpitations
- Strong sense of awareness of your heart beating
- Chest pain, pressure or discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath Anxiety
These symptoms may be associated with a variety of other issues. With atrial fibrillation, it can come and go, so symptoms may appear and disappear. They can last for a few minutes to hours and then stop as suddenly as they started. If you have chronic AFib, then the arrhythmia is always present.
Risk Factors for Developing Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) affects millions of people. It’s the most common heart problem affecting your heart or rhythm. In the U.S., AFib is more common for white people than among African Americans or Hispanics. It’s also more likely for men to develop the condition than women. The risk of developing AFib increases as you age. In fact, 1 in 25 Americans over the age of 60 have AFib. The following factors increase your risk for atrial fibrillation.
- Family history of atrial fibrillation (Afib)
- Hypertension or uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, thyroid conditions and sleep apnea
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Stress or anxiety
- Having other heart conditions like coronary artery disease or heart valve disease
In rare instances, atrial fibrillation is considered to be hereditary. While AFib can happen to anyone, certain risk factors make it more likely for you to develop this heart condition. If you are at an increased risk and start exhibiting symptoms, talk to your doctor about a referral to one of our physicians that treat atrial fibrillation (Afib).