Atrial Fibrillation Definition
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart rhythm disorder characterized by irregular and rapid heart rate. Atrial fibrillation sufferers can feel symptoms of weakness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
A normal heart rate ranges from 60-100 times per minute with a regular rhythm. In people with atrial fibrillation, the heart rhythm becomes irregular and can be more than 100 times per minute.
Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia or heart rhythm disorder. Symptoms can disappear, last a long time, or even permanently. If left unchecked, atrial fibrillation can result in heart failure and stroke.
Atrial Fibrillation Types
Types of AF are:
In this case it is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. You may experience symptoms that come and go, usually lasting for a few minutes to hours. The symptoms may disappear or you may need treatment.
With this type of atrial fibrillation, your heart rhythm does not return to normal by itself. If you have this AF, electric shock or medication is the treatment you need.
This type of atrial fibrillation continues and lasts longer than 12 months.
This type of AF is a condition in which abnormal heart rhythms cannot be restored. You will experience permanent atrial fibrillation and you will need medications to control your heart rate and prevent blood clotting.
Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms
Atrial fibrillation (AF) can cause symptoms of feeling tired quickly or not even cause any symptoms, so it is not noticed by the sufferer. But if the heart rate is too fast, people with atrial fibrillation may experience the following symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
AF can last occasionally in minutes to hours, or occur repeatedly during the week. Symptoms of this kind of AF can still disappear, either disappearing themselves or with drugs.
However, atrial fibrillation can also occur continuously for more than a year or even permanently. The condition requires long-term treatment to prevent stroke and heart failure.
Atrial Fibrillation Causes
Damage or changes to the structure of the heart can cause atrial fibrillation. Other causes of atrial fibrillation are:
- High blood pressure (hypertension);
- Heart attack;
- Coronary heart disease;
- Heart valve disease.
- Heart defects from birth
- An overactive thyroid gland
- Consuming alco**hol, caffeine and smo**king
- Have lung disease
- Viral infection
Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis
To establish a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, the doctor can conduct detailed medical interviews to evaluate the signs, symptoms, history of the disease, as well as conduct a live physical examination.
Some supporting checks that can be done, namely:
ECG examination uses electrodes (sensors) placed on the chest, arms, and legs to detect and record the electrical activity of the heart. ECG examination is the main examination in diagnosing atrial fibrillation.
This portable ECG device can be carried in your pocket or worn on a belt. This equipment serves to record your heart activity for 24 hours or more, which will give your doctor a long look at your heart rhythm.
The test uses sound waves to get imaging of the shape of the heart.
This examination involves a heart examination performed while a person is doing sports activities.
This test helps your doctor get rid of thyroid problems or other substances in the blood that can cause atrial fibrillation.
It is commonly used to see an overview of the heart and pulmonary conditions. One of the imaging tests that doctors might suggest is X-rays.
Atrial Fibrillation Health Risk
People with untreated atrial fibrillation may be at greater risk of stroke than people with normal heart rhythms. Since blood does not flow through the atrium regularly, blood clots can form in the liver. If a blood clot escapes the liver, it can travel through the bloodstream to the brain and cause a stroke.
Untreated AFib can cause problems other than Stroke. Talk to your doctor about the different risks that AFib can pose to your health.