What Is Atrial Fibrillation, and Should You Be Concerned If You Are Diagnosed with It?

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Everyone dreams of living a happy, healthy, long life filled with all kinds of wonderful moments and memories. What doesn’t fit into your dream future is being diagnosed with any sort of medical condition that can possibly throw a wrench in your plans. Being diagnosed with a medical disorder or condition can cause instant alarm, stress, and anxiety as you struggle to figure out what it means for you right now and moving forward.

If you have recently been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition, there is no doubt that you are currently going through those feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry. So just what do you need to know about atrial fibrillation and how concerned should you be about it? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) can be described as an irregular or quivering heartbeat, called an arrhythmia. When a person has atrial fibrillation, it means that the electrical system in their heart doesn’t work as it should, and that there is an abnormality. In a normal working heart, the electrical system is responsible for sending an impulse from the upper to the lower chambers of the heart. This doesn’t happen in someone with AF. Instead the impulses can be chaotic and end up causing a heart rhythm that isn’t normal.

In order to be diagnosed with this condition, it’s important to visit a heart specialist. For example, The London Heart Clinic is well-versed in dealing with atrial fibrillation, as well as many other heart issues and conditions so they may be worth contacting if you can easily get to their clinic. Doctors will probably request an electrocardiogram (ECG) to be done, since it is able to record the electrical activity that is taking part in your heart. Along with this test, you may be required to have an ultrasound done of your heart, and blood tests.

What Are the Warning Signs and Symptoms?

The warning signs of AF can differ from person to person. It’s common to have a shortness of breath and dizziness. Some people complain that they just feel “off” but can’t quite put their finger on any specific thing that is wrong.

What Does the Diagnosis Mean to You?

So how concerned should you be with an AF diagnosis? While AF isn’t rare, it is reported that approximately one in four people will develop it at some point, so it should be taken seriously. Once diagnosed, it does increase your risk of suffering from a stroke. A diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t lead a happy, healthy, normal life, but it is something you need to be aware of.

What Is the Treatment for AF?

The first step that doctors usually take is to prescribe blood thinners in order to lower the risk of the person having a stroke. Once on blood thinners, there are a few different treatment options that can include catheter ablation and/or medication.

Also, there are usually a number of lifestyle changes that can be recommended such as maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, quitting smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, and exercising on a regular basis.

*This is a collaboration post

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