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Atrial Fibrillation

There are several factors that increase your risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Some of these factors are:

Age
As you get older the chance of developing atrial fibrillation increases
Detect Afib with the HeartCheck CardiBeat
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High blood pressure
Having high blood pressure, particularly if it is not being maintained by a healthy diet, exercise, or medication
Alcohol Consumption
Heavy alcohol consumption or frequent binge drinking
Drug Use
Use of stimulants such as cocaine or decongestants
Heart Issues
Pre-existing heart disease, heart surgery, or a history of heart attack
Other Conditions
Thyroid disease, asthma, sleep apnea, or other chronic conditions.
Family History
A family history of heart problems including atrial fibrillation

Although the risk factors mentioned above increase your risk for developing atrial fibrillation, many people, including young adults, develop atrial fibrillation with no apparent cause.  In some cases, alcohol consumption and/or drug use can play a major role however atrial fibrillation is also known to occur in otherwise healthy adults with no pre-existing heart conditions.

small arrow Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation small arrow Detecting Atrial Fibrillation




What is
Atrial fibrillation? (AF or A-fib)

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart condition (or arrhythmia) that causes your heart to beat irregularly.  An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with AF and half a million new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S alone. The true danger of atrial fib is that it can dramatically increase your risk for stroke, heart-failure, as well as other heart-related problems.

With atrial fibrillation, instead of pumping to a steady and efficient rhythm, the upper chambers of your heart (called the atria) ‘quiver’ (or fibrillate) causing an irregular heartbeat. This ‘quivering’ effect can increase your heart rate and significantly reduce your heart's ability to pump blood efficiently throughout the heart and body.  

Atrial fibrillation and Stroke

The less effective beat produced by afib causes areas in the heart where blood flow becomes slow or stagnant resulting in blood pooling and forming a clot within the heart. These blood clots, or a portion of the clot, break apart and move through the bloodstream toward the brain. Since the blood vessels leading to the brain become finer, as the clot moves closer to the brain it eventually causes a blockage. This dangerous blockage prevents areas of the brain from receiving the vital oxygen carried by the blood which causes a stroke.  

Since the characteristically larger clots that form within the heart block bigger vessels which supply larger areas of the brain with oxygen, strokes caused by atrial fib may often be fatal or cause permanent disability.


 

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