Do you know what heart flutters are? Many people experience heart flutters and don’t even know it. Heart flutters are a type of arrhythmia, which is a problem with the heart’s rhythm. Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slowly, or in an irregular pattern. One type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib. If you are experiencing heart flutters, it’s important to see your doctor and get diagnosed. Left untreated, AFib can lead to serious health complications.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (also known as AFib or AF) is an arrhythmia (quivering or irregular heartbeat) that can cause blood clots, strokes, heart failure, and other heart-related issues. AFib affects at least 2.7 million people in the United States. Your heart beats in a regular rhythm, contracting and relaxing. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat erratically (quiver) instead of effectively pumping blood into the ventricles. A stroke occurs when a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream, and lodges in an artery leading to the brain. This cardiac arrhythmia affects 15–20 percent of persons who have strokes. (American Heart Association, 2022)
How Do You Get Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is caused by changes or damage to the tissue and electrical system of your heart. These alterations are usually caused by coronary artery disease or excessive blood pressure. Atrial fibrillation is frequently triggered by a heartbeat. However, determining the reason for a triggered heartbeat might be difficult at times. There is no apparent cause for some people. Research is continually being conducted in order to help us learn more about the world. Afib is a condition that typically runs in families. If a close relative has Afib, you have a “family history” and thus an increased risk of acquiring it yourself. The links between atrial fibrillation and anxiety aren’t completely understood. We do know that anxiety increases your risk of heart disease and puts you at a 48 percent higher risk of dying from a heart attack. However, further research is needed to determine whether anxiety disorders can trigger Afib. (Cleveland Clinic)
When Atrial Fibrillation is an Emergency
Although most cases of atrial fibrillation aren’t fatal, an irregular heartbeat can lead to complications such as a heart attack or stroke. You can help your loved ones get the medical attention they need sooner and reduce your anxiety if you’re prepared to detect and handle what’s going on.
Make a list of medical issues and the drugs they use to get started. You’ll be able to share the list with medical personnel in the event of an emergency. If your loved one takes blood thinners, they should wear a medical bracelet or tag that specifies their condition. You’ll also want to understand what happens during an AFib episode, a heart attack, or a stroke, as well as the many warning indicators associated with each. (WebMD)
AFib Symptoms Which Escalate
The symptoms of an AFib episode may include being tired, out of breath, feeling faint, confused, or anxious. The heart will start fluttering or pounding. On another level, discomfort, pain, pressure, or heaviness in the chest are the most common symptoms of a heart attack, as well as, shortness of breath, nausea, confusion, and weariness. Symptoms also may include vomiting, or tingling or pain in the back, shoulders, arms, or jaw. The symptoms of a stroke can be face drooping, speech difficulty, and arm weakness. Severe headaches, vision problems, dizziness, disorientation, difficulty speaking, or numbness or weakness on one side of the body are also symptoms to look out for. (WebMD)
Be Safe, Be Sure
If you are experiencing heart flutters, it’s important to see your doctor and get diagnosed. Left untreated, AFib can lead to serious health complications. If you think you may be experiencing heart flutters, don’t wait to get checked out by a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing this condition. If the symptoms mentioned above are present, call 911 right away. It’s better to be mistaken than to wait too long which can create lasting heart damage.
“What Is Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB or AF)?” www.heart.org, 2 June 2022, www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation/what-is-atrial-fibrillation-afib-or-af.
“Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16765-atrial-fibrillation-afib.
Pagán, Camille Noe. “When to Call a Doctor about Afib.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/heart-disease/atrial-fibrillation/when-afib-trouble.