Understanding the Risks Associated with Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common kind of irregular heartbeat. It results from the abnormal firing of electrical impulses causing the atria to fibrillate. In some cases, people with this condition have no symptoms and a physical examination is the only way to detect their condition. But, others may experience some symptoms such as general fatigue, dizziness, rapid and irregular heartbeat, faintness, chest pain, and others.

Different Kinds of AFiB

All kinds of AFib have the same symptoms in general. But, the duration and underlying reasons for the condition help doctors classify the kind of AFib issues. Paroxysmal fibrillation is when the heart returns to a normal rhythm by itself or with intervention within seven days of its start.  Patients with this kind of AFib may have unpredictable symptoms. AFib can also be persistent (longer than 7 days), long-standing (longer than 12 months), or permanent (lasts indefinitely). All of these kinds of AFib can increase the risk of stroke.

Symptoms of AFib vs Symptoms of Heart Attack

People who are experiencing AFib will generally experience fluttering and palpitations; however, a lot of those with heart issues suffer from the same warning signs. Those who think they might be having a heart attack must contact 911 right away. A heart attack takes place when the blood flow to the heart is blocked, usually due to a clot or buildup of plaque that lodges in the coronary artery. The condition can damage a part of the heart muscle. Heart attacks can be sudden and intense. However, the majority start slowly with mild discomfort and pain. Usually, those affected are not sure what is wrong and wait too long before they seek help. Common symptoms of a heart attack include discomfort in the center of the chest, shortness of breath, cold sweat, lightheadedness, nausea, and other body discomforts.

AFib Sufferers Must be Aware of Stroke Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, AFib can increase a patient’s risk of stroke. That is why they must be aware of warning signs such as drooping or numbing of one side of the face. Arm weakness will also be experienced during a stroke. The patient must be asked to raise both arms and see if the arm drifts downward. A stroke makes it hard for the person to speak. If a person’s speech is slurred or not easy to understand, they may be having a stroke. If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they must contact 911 immediately. This must be done even if the symptoms go away.

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