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Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month

Atrial Fibrillation or Afib is an irregular, often times rapid heart rhythm. When left untreated, Afib can increase the risk of developing a stroke or heart-related illness. According to the National Council for Aging, adults aged 65 and older are most at risk for developing Afib.


What is Atrial Fibrillation?


Afib occurs when the upper chamber of the heart (atria) begins to beat irregularly, causing it to beat out of sync with the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). This irregularity disrupts the ability for blood to move efficiently through the chambers. Blood can either collect in the upper chamber or move slowly, which can lead to the formation of clots.


Symptoms


People with Afib may not always present with symptoms. Others, however, may experience one or more of the following symptoms:


- Irregular heart beat

- Heart Palpitations

- Light-headedness

- Fatigue

- Shortness of breath

- Chest Pain


There are also varying degree of symptoms. For example, symptoms in paroxysmal afib may come and go, lasting for minutes, hours, even weeks. Other symptoms may become permanent, requiring medication.


Treatment


Afib can be treated with medications that control the heart’s rhythm and rate, blood thinning medication to prevent clots and reduce the risk of stroke, or surgery. September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Visit stopafib.org to learn more about the condition.






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