Atrial Fibrillation | AFib
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a type of heart arrhythmia that causes the heart to move (fibrillate) too rapidly and irregularly. Atrial fibrillation occurs in the heart’s two upper chambers called the atria. AFib can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, including heart failure and stroke. If you think you might have AFib, talk to your doctor about evaluation and treatment.
Learn more about AFib
What are AFib symptoms?
Some people with atrial fibrillation may have no symptoms while others may experience:
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Hard time exercising
- Chest pain
Diagnosing atrial fibrillation
Your provider will do a complete medical evaluation to diagnose atrial fibrillation. He/she will ask about your medical history and complete a physical exam.Diagnostic tests may be ordered, including:
Holter monitor or event monitor
Treating atrial fibrillation
Treatment for AFib includes preventing blood clots from forming and restoring a normal heartbeat. Your doctor also will want to treat any conditions that can cause or raise the risk of atrial fibrillation. Treatment can include:
Atrial fibrillation complications
Atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke, heart failure and other complications.
Stroke: A blood clot can form in the atria and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
Blood clots: Clots can travel to other parts of the body, causing poor blood flow to a limb, for example.
Heart failure: The heart may not supply enough blood to the lungs and body, leading to a buildup of fluid in parts of the body and to heart failure.
Having a healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk of heart disease and may prevent atrial fibrillation. This includes:
- Healthy, low-fat, low-sugar diet with a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- Quitting tobacco
- Exercise and physical activity
- Having a healthy weight
- Limiting alcohol
- Taking medication as prescribed