This is an abnormal heart rhythm which causes rapid and irregular heartbeat. It can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and similar other heart-related complications. You can feel the heart pumping blood out of your heart chambers and to the rest of the body. Sometimes the electric signals which help with the beating of the heart do not work properly and it causes a break in the rhythm of the heart to pump blood. There are chances that you may have small episodes of atrial fibrillation which can happen anytime and also go away. In certain cases, the patient may develop the condition which does not go away and may even require treatment. This condition may not be life-threatening in most cases, it may require emergency treatment. This condition can also lead to complications and blood clots may be formed in the heart and can pass on to other organs and can also lead to blockage in the blood flow.
Most patients may have no symptoms and also may be unaware of the condition until it is discovered. The doctor will have to carry out certain physical examinations and tests to determine the condition. Most of the patients suffering from this condition can show the below symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, confusion, chest pain, palpitations, sensations of a racing and irregular heartbeat, reduced ability to exercise, and dizziness.
There can be various cases of atrial fibrillation such as occasional, persistent, long-standing persistent and permanent. If you have any of these symptoms make sure that you contact a doctor immediately. There can be other reasons for the symptoms hence one should contact a doctor for correct diagnosis.
There can be various reasons and causes of atrial fibrillation such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, abnormal heart valves, coronary artery disease, patients with congenital or heart defects from birth, an overactive thyroid gland, side effects of medications, caffeine, tobacco or alcohol, sick sinus syndrome, viral infections, lung disease, stress due to pneumonia, sleep apnea, surgery and other illness. It can also be caused due to certain abnormalities and also due to the damage to the heart`s structure.
In some patients, atrial flutter can also develop into atrial fibrillation. Atrial flutter causes similar disorder, however, the rhythm in the atria is more organized and less chaotic than atrial fibrillation. If it is properly treated it can be life-threatening.
There are various risk factors which increase the chances of atrial fibrillation. These factors are heart disease, age, high blood pressure, drinking alcohol, obesity, family history, and other chronic conditions. People who are old are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
This condition can be prevented by many ways. It is imperative to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart disease. One should eat a heart-healthy diet, avoid smoking, increase physical activity, avoid caffeine and alcohol, maintain a healthy weight, and take precaution while using over the counter medicines as certain medicines can trigger a rapid heartbeat. These precautions will help with this condition.