What is it?
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes the heart to beat in an irregular, sometimes rapid rhythm that can result in poor circulation and other cardiovascular problems. While some people are totally unaware that they have atrial fibrillation and feel no symptoms at all, others experience symptoms that at times can feel pretty scary — including a pounding heart, fluttering in the chest or even the feeling that their heart “is going to explode.”
What are the symptoms?
- Heart sensations, sometimes called palpitations, which may include irregular, thumping, or pounding heartbeats.
- A feeling the heart is racing.
- Chest discomfort or pain.
- Fainting or lightheadedness.
- Fatigue, shortness of breath, or weakness.
- A person may have atrial fibrillation and no symptoms.
- If a clot is formed and blocks the flow of blood to the brain, it can cause stroke. The symptoms include numbness, difficulty in walking and swallowing, slurred speech, headache and dizziness. The stroke requires immediate medical attention.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- Was there a specific cause found?
- Is there a need for investigations to assess and evaluate your condition? If so, what preparations do you need prior to testing?
- Some patients with atrial fibrillation may have other medical conditions such as such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Do you need a stricter control of these medical conditions?
- Patients with atrial fibrillation are prescribed medication they will need to use lifelong. Is this the case for you as well?
- A healthy diet, quitting smoking and an active lifestyle can help improve overall health and well-being. Which changes can you make in your lifestyle?
- Patients with atrial fibrillation have a regular follow-up with their doctor. How often do you need to visit your doctor?
After initial treatment, you can also do the following:
- Control your body weight.
- Get regular exercise, such as walking, running, biking, and swimming.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and limit your intake of sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Drink lots of water.