Atrial fibrillation is characterized as an erratic heart rate. This occurs once the 2 upper heart chambers quiver or fibrillate instead of beating normally. It is important that you are familiar with the indications to prevent serious complications from developing.
What are the indications of atrial fibrillation?
Some individuals with atrial fibrillation do not have any symptoms while others have the following:
- Heart palpitations or “fluttering” heartbeat
- Dizziness or fainting spells
- Erratic pulse rate
- Chest pain (if it lasts more than a few minutes or there are indications of a heart attack, call for emergency assistance)
It is important to note that atrial fibrillation can manifest as an on-off episode or can come and go or even become persistent.
How is it diagnosed
The condition is diagnosed using an electrocardiogram (ECG). If an individual has atrial fibrillation, the doctor might perform an assessment and request other tests such as a chest X-ray and an echocardiogram.
The treatment for atrial fibrillation usually include the following:
- Medications to restore normal heart beat
- Procedures that restore the normal beating of the heat
- Medications that slow down the heart rate
If an individual has atrial fibrillation, he/she is at higher risk for developing a clot in the heart. Once this clot breaks off, it can cause a stroke. Some individuals with the condition are encouraged to use medications that thin out the blood to minimize the risk for stroke.
Many individuals are able to manage the condition and continue with a relatively normal life. This is achievable by taking the prescribed medications, a healthy diet, avoid smoking, maintaining a physically active lifestyle, caring for your general health and visiting the doctor on a regular basis.