Understand Your Risk

Understand Your Risk


Are you at risk for atrial fibrillation? (AFib or AF)


Any person, ranging from children to adults, can develop atrial fibrillation. Because the likelihood of AFib increases with age and people are living longer today, medical researchers predict the number of AFib cases will rise dramatically over the next few years. Even though AFib clearly increases the risks of heart-related death and stroke, many patients do not fully recognize the potentially serious consequences.


Who is at higher risk?


Typically people who have one or more of the following conditions are at higher risk for AFib:

  • Athletes: AFib is common in athletes and can be triggered by a rapid heart rate called a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
  • Advanced age: The number of adults developing AFib increases markedly with older age. Atrial fibrillation in children is rare, but it can and does happen.
  • Underlying heart disease: Anyone with heart disease, including valve problems, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, acute coronary syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome and history of heart attack. Additionally, atrial fibrillation is the most common complication after heart surgery.
  • High blood pressure: Longstanding, uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk for AFib.
  • Drinking alcohol: Binge drinking (having five drinks in two hours for men, or four drinks for women) may put you at higher risk for AFib.
  • Sleep apnea: Although sleep apnea isn’t proven to cause AFib, studies show a strong link between obstructive sleep apnea and AFib. Often, treating the apnea can improve AFib.
  • Family history: Having a family member with AFib increases your chances of being diagnosed.
  • Other chronic conditions: Others at risk are people with thyroid problems, diabetes, asthma and other chronic medical problems.

Recent Discussions From The Newly Diagnosed Forum
Nesshan avatar

Last Wednesday I woke up and was sitting in bed. I felt my heart beating oddly and after that my chest felt uncomfortable, I told my sister how I was feeling and at that point my heart started beating really fast. I thought I was having a heart attack and was about to die. 

Sister took me to the ER where they checked my pulse and put me on an IV I hadn't been told what it was until I was moved to the Hospital, I wasn't allowed to walk and then I was told that I was in AFib. 

Later that night a nurse said I "converted" and all was well. 

The next day I had a ultrasound on my heart done and etc.

The doctors didn't mention anything bad going on and explained that I had AFib probably because of sleep apnea and being overweight. He told me I should work on losing weight and eating better to fix it.

I'm on Eliquis and Diltiazem, I wasn't told how long but was told I shouldn't run out of Eliquis. 

I'm still terrified of havhav that happen again and I have no one else to talk to about this. 

After having AFib and converting, and being on this medication. What are the possobiliposs of having to experience that again ? I'm trying to exercise more but I'm scared of something happening again.

sunbirds avatar

I am having a hard time too.  I went to bed last Friday, 3/8, and couldn't go to sleep because my heart was pounding so hard it felt like it was a drum beating on my mattress.  I have never had that happen before. I had had flutters for a couple weeks off & on after my company left, but didn't think about it. This time I couldn't ignore it. My heart was beating so hard I thought it would stop beating altogether just from wearing itself out, so I called the police dept and asked them to call RMSA. They got here within 15 minutes, lights flashing, waking up all the neighbors, hooked me up to their portable EKG, got alarmed and loaded me into the ambulance. I was still in my PJs and robe with slippers. We left in such a hurry that the paramedic couldn't even lock my door right.  I went into a WOP mode (whatever that is) on the way to the hospital.  I was shaking uncontrollably and shivering like I was in a snowstorm even though the ambulance was warm.  So got to the hospital and they gave me baby aspirin and Pepsid, then some other drug, and finally after about two hours my heart went back into rhythm and I could go home.  I can't figure out what caused it.  I have low blood pressure and am in excellent health, or thought I was. I'm scared, terrified, and the more I read the more scared I get.  I read that people with afib have shorter life spans. I'm on Xarelto now, and was told I would probably be on it for life, which means if I'm in an accident I could bleed to death before I could get help.  I have no one to talk to. No one in my family has any heart problems even though my dad did.  The doc still hasn't scheduled me in. I wish I had a friend to talk to about this.  I have no idea now what my future will be like.  Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

muddynwv avatar

 

Hello! I am new to the cardiac/AFib world. I was recently diagnosed with my heart going  in and out of AFib while having long pauses and bradycardia.  My cardiologist said he is unable to treat the AFib with medication due to my resting HR normally in the 40’s and sometimes as low as the 30’s. (I do have sporatic dips throughout the day as well) My average awake HR is 60-70, I am scheduled for a sleep study next week to rule out apnea. If the low rate is not due to apnea we will discuss PM/Def.  Has anyone corrected their bradycardia with getting apnea treated?  Also, what medications have you used for AFib if your HR is on the lower side? 

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