Do you know someone with AFib?
It is estimated that 12.1 million people in the United States will have AFib in 2030, and more than 454,000 hospitalizations with AFib as the primary diagnosis happen each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Rowland Reyna, the founder of HealthTexas, provided information about atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, and how to seek treatment.
1) What is AFib?
It’s when an irregular and rapid heart rhythm occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart (the atrium) where the electrical centers of the heart are located, become damaged -- causing the heart’s upper chambers to beat out of coordination with the lower chambers (of the ventricles). Atrial fibrillation itself is not dangerous, but two things are:
- Rapid heart rhythm
- The irregular rhythm causes the two upper chambers of the heart to “quiver,” which can cause blood clots.
2) What are the symptoms of AFib?
Symptoms include irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations (rapid, fluttering or pounding), lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath or possibly no symptoms.
3) What causes AFib?
Abnormalities or damage to the heart’s structure are the most common causes.
Possible causes include high blood pressure, heart attack, coronary artery disease, abnormal heart valve, congenital heart defects, overactive thyroid gland or other metabolic imbalance, exposure to stimulants, such as medications, caffeine, tobacco or alcohol, sick sinus syndrome – improper functioning of the heart’s natural pacemaker, lung disease, previous heart surgery, viral infections, stress due to surgery, pneumonia or other illnesses and sleep apnea.
4) What are the treatments?
- Medications to control heart rate and rhythm.
- Blood-thinning medications to prevent blood clots from forming and lowering risk of stroke.
- Cardio conversion, to shock heart rate into a normal rhythm and to coordinate the heart chambers to beat together.
5) If I am concerned, what should I do?
See your primary care doctor or a cardiologist.
If you are in need of a primary care doctor, HealthTexas has 17 locations to serve the San Antonio region, and the health group specializes in Medicare plans. All doctors are board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine.
To learn more about HealthTexas, click or tap here. Watch the video above for additional information.