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AFib Town > Newly Diagnosed

 
Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Some people refer to AF as a quivering heart. An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with AF.

Here’s how patients have described their experience:

“My heart flip-flops, skips beats, and feels like it’s banging against my chest wall, especially if I’m carrying stuff up my stairs or bending down.” "

I was nauseated, light-headed, and weak. I had a really fast heartbeat and felt like I was gasping for air.”

“I had no symptoms at all. I discovered my AF at a regular check-up. I’m glad we found it early.”
 

What happens during AFib?

Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. About 15–20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia.

“Anything that allows blood to slow down or pool increases the risk of clotting, and so increases the risk of stroke,” says Dr. Steve Roach, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Wake Forest University Medical School.

If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results.“ This clot risk is why patients with this condition are put on blood thinners. People with atrial fibrillation have an increased stroke risk of about five percent per year.”

It's the most common "serious" heart rhythm abnormality in people over the age of 65 years. Even though untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and causes a 4–5-fold increased risk for stroke, many patients are unaware that AF is a serious condition.

Watch an animation of atrial fibrillation.

According to the 2009 “Out of Sync” survey:

  • Only 33% of AF patients think atrial fibrillation is a serious condition
  • Less than half of AF patients believe they have an increased risk for stroke or heart-related hospitalizations or death

AFib Treatment Saves Lives & Lowers Risks

If you or someone you love has atrial fibrillation, learn more about what AFib is, why treatment can save lives, and what you can do to reach your goals, lower your risks and live a healthy life.

If you think you may have atrial fibrillation, here are your most important steps:  

  1. Know the symptoms
  2. Get the right treatment
  3. Reduce risks for stroke and heart failure

We’re here to help you live your healthiest life! 

Recent Discussions

  • 19 Replies
    Joanie2016:My ER doctor told me to go to ER if heart rate was 120 for over 10 minutes. That is scary. 120? I test both blood pressure and pulse as well as glucose every other hour and log it in a note book. It has helped my doctors with my treat...
  • 6 Replies
    I've never had a cardioversion.  I've tried multiple rhythm drugs.  I was allergic to several and multaq had too many side effects plus it didn't get me into rhythm.  I had an ablation in February 2017.  My afib was pretty constant follow...
  • 6 Replies
    I am very new to the AFib stuff as well. I've had several cardioversions, one ablation with another one scheduled next week. I was put on that medication as well. They were hoping it would either knock me back into rhythm or keep me in rhythm...
  • 22 Replies
    Congratulations on your remission! I had my third ablation last November. I was in a-fib before and during the procedure.  My doctor said that he was able to clearly see the areas of my heart that were misfiring.  I went into NSR during the...

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