Atrial Fibrillation Information

Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common heart conditions, and people who have it are at an increased risk for a stroke. Therefore, people who have atrial fibrillation, or who believe they might have symptoms, should talk to their doctors. There are other factors associated with the condition, and by having proper atrial fibrillation information, you are being proactive with regards to your health.

A Summary of Atrial Fibrillation Information

The following information covers some of the more important things people with atrial fibrillation need to know. For more information, or to discuss possible symptoms of atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation treatment options, talk to your doctor.
 
  • Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained heart rhythm disorder, and it increases a person's risk for heart disease and stroke, both leading causes of death in the United States. An estimated 2.2 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
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  • Atrial fibrillation is the quivering of the top right chamber of the heart. It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat that can cause serious complications, even death. If the heart rate is rapid and irregular, a healthcare provider should be seen quickly. Ideal adult pulse is steady, with regular rates of 60 to 80 beats per minute.
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  • Deaths associated with atrial fibrillation mortality have increased over the past two decades. Overall, the age-standardized death rate (per 100,000 U.S. population) increased from 27.6 in 1980 to 69.8 in 1998.
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  • The prevalence of atrial fibrillation increases markedly with age in older adults, from less than 1 percent for those younger than age 60 to roughly 1 in every 10 persons aged 80 years or older.
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  • Studies have shown that men have a higher prevalence of atrial fibrillation than women, and Caucasians have a higher prevalence than African Americans.
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  • Other factors associated with the development of atrial fibrillation include hypertension, congestive heart failure, previous myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), and diabetes.
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  • Atrial fibrillation (also known as a-fib) accounts for one-fourth of all strokes in the elderly. The American Heart Association reports that in the United States, atrial fibrillation is estimated to be responsible for over 70,000 strokes each year.
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  • Anti-arrhythmia medications can help regularize the heart rhythm and help prevent the arrhythmia from happening again. In addition, medications that reduce the risk of blood clot formation (aspirin and warfarin are the two most common) can help reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation.
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  • Signs and symptoms that suggest the presence of atrial fibrillation include a sensation of missed or extra heartbeats, an unexplained rapid heartbeat, or palpitation.
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  • People can identify an irregular heartbeat by monitoring their wrist pulse for one minute. The irregularity of these beats is detected, and the next beat cannot be predicted. Persons who identify the signs of cardiac arrhythmia should seek medical care to determine the presence of atrial fibrillation or other heart disorders.
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  • Consult your healthcare provider if you believe you have an irregular heart rhythm or palpitations.
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Atrial Fibrillation Information

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