Atrial fibrillation can lead to several life-threatening medical conditions. September is recognized as Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month to highlight the importance of AFib testing and treatment. Find out more about diagnosing atrial fibrillation and best practices for living with this heart condition.
What Is AFib?
AFib is an irregular rhythm of the heart. According to The American Heart Association, 2.7 million Americans currently have AFib. If you have atrial fibrillation, the most common symptoms you will feel include:
- Fluttering or butterfly feeling in the chest
- Thumping in the chest
- General fatigue
- Faintness or fainting
- Chest pain
- Chest pressure
- Sweating without exertion
The American Stroke Association notes that if you are suffering from chest pain or chest pressure, it could be a symptom of a heart attack and a reason to call 911.
How Atrial Fibrillation Is Diagnosed
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, you need to see a cardiologist or electrophysiologist. Typically, a cardiologist will provide you with an initial diagnosis and refer you to an electrophysiologist.
Best Practices for Living With AFib
According to StopAfib.org, the best practices for managing atrial fibrillation include two goals. The first goal is to manage your heart rhythm to avoid the quivering sensation known as arrhythmia. The second goal is to avoid the underlying medical conditions that can be caused by AFib. This includes:
- Blood clots or thromboembolism
- Overly high heart rate
The American Stroke Association states that treating AFib could be as easy as cutting back on your daily caffeine intake. However, you can only determine the severity and treatment for your heart health with the help of a medical professional.
Treatments for AFib
Managing AFib requires access to medical treatments available at Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. These treatments can include:
- Antiarrhythmic agents
- Blood thinners
- Calcium channel blockers
- Cardiac catheter ablation aka radiofrequency ablation
- Cold ablation therapy
- Heat-based ablation
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)
Some treatments are medicines that are taken for the long term, such as beta-blockers and blood thinners. For more serious AFib treatments, a pacemaker-type device called an ICD may be needed to manage ventricular tachycardia. These treatment methods are highly innovative and provide long-term treatment in many cases. The use of ablation and defibrillator devices help to avoid triggering a heart rhythm disorder.
Contact Heart Rhythm Consultants Today
If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. Our practice has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa, and Sun City Center for over a decade.