You may have heard of atrial fibrillation (AFib), but do you know what it is? AFib is a common heart-related disorder. Many of us may know someone with AFib.
So why is it important to know about AFib?
Atrial fibrillation is an electrical disorder of the heart. It can cause fast, irregular heartbeats that can feel odd and cause symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, even chest congestion. Sometimes AFib causes no symptoms at all.
AFib is also linked to a higher risk of stroke and can cause heart failure, or weakened heart muscle. So it’s important to get under control.
In episode 21, host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guest, Apoor Gami, MD, provide an easy-to-understand explanation of this complicated condition and discuss risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
Myths vs. Facts
"Atrial fibrillation only affects seniors.” – Myth
Any person, ranging from children to adults, can develop AFib. Yet, older adults are at a higher risk. Among people over age 90, about 1 in 10 have AFib. Over age 65, the rate is around 1 in 20. There’s a gradual increase in the rate of AFib as we age.
“AFib may or may not cause symptoms.” – Fact
Some people may feel nothing at all, others may have chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath. Most people are somewhere in the middle.
“In most cases, people with AFib can still participate in physical activities by following their doctor’s recommendations.” – Fact
Moderate physical activity is important for good health.
“Your medicine is not working if you still get episodes of AFib.” – Myth
Some people may have symptoms of AFib every day or every week. The treatment that they receive might limit their symptoms to once every six or nine months. Those treatments are successful if they reduce the symptoms.
“Catheter ablation procedures can only be performed once.” – Myth
Patients who have AFib often will need a second ablation, sometimes more than two. AFib is not a condition we necessarily cure. Mostly AFib is controlled.
“A “one-size-fits-all” approach for the treatment of atrial fibrillation simply does not work.” – Fact
Managing AFib successfully requires ongoing treatment and consultation with your cardiologist.
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