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Learn About Heart Afib So You Can Get Your Loved One Through It

The meaning of heart Afib is when the heart’s upper chamber or atria beats chaotically. Meaning the beats are irregular or out of sync and not matching with the lower chambers or heart’s ventricles.¬†

Though most may never show any symptoms. But if you are suffering from afib, you could have a pounding heart or palpation, and shortness of breath. 

Heart afib
A normal and afib heart ecg report

What Is Atrial Fibrillation Or Heart Afib? 

Atrial fibrillation or heart afib is also known as AFib and AF. It’s also the most common type of treated arrhythmia. As explained in our previous article, arrhythmia is the rhythm of the heart beat.¬†

Symptoms Of Heart Afib

At times people experiencing AFib don’t really know they have it as they don’t show any signs of it.¬†

Though there are some symptoms you can check which include: 

  • An irregular heartbeat¬†
  • Heart palpitations¬†
  • Feeling light headed¬†
  • Extreme fatigue¬†
  • Breathe shortness
  • Pain in the chest¬†

Causes For Having Heart Afib

In reality there is no particular “cause” for Afib, though it is associated with some conditions. The most common is after undergoing heart surgery or a Cardiomyopathy.¬†

If you are suffering from congenital heart disease or coronary artery disease or chronic lung disease, you can suffer Afib. 

Heart afib

Other conditions include:

  • Heart valve disease¬†
  • Heart failure¬†
  • High blood pressure, and¬†
  • Pulmonary hypertension¬†

Apart from these, viral infection, pericarditis and Hyperthyroidism can also be the cause. 

Matter of fact, in 10% of the cases, none of the patients had any underlying heart disease. In cases like these, it’s mostly related to excess caffeine intake, alcohol, certain drugs, stress, metabolic or electrolyte imbalance, a severe infection or genetic factors.¬†

The Different Types Of Atrial Fibrillation:

Occasional or paroxysmal atrial fibrillation:

In this the afib symptoms last up-to few minutes to few hours. The symptoms can last for a week with repeated episodes. This type can go away on its own though some do require afib treatment.

Persistent: 

In this type, the heart rhythm is unable to get back to its normal rhythm on its own. If a person shows AFib symptoms or goes into AFib they need instant medication to restore a normal heart rhythm. 

Long-standing persistent:

This type lasts for more than 12 months on a go. 

Permanent: 

In this type, the heart rhythm cannot restore on its own. You need a doctor to give the required medication to restore or control the heart rate and prevent any blood clots as well. 

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment 

The main focus of the atrial fibrillation treatment is to regain your normal heart rhythm or the sinus rhythm. This treatment also helps control your heart rate, reduce the risk of stroke and to prevent blood clots. 

As serious as the health issue is there are many options to treat atrial fibrillation. They include changing your lifestyle, taking medications, catheter-based procedures and last is surgery. 

Medications You Might Be Prescribed 

Antiarrhythmic drugs are prescribed to control the heart’s rhythm. They help in returning the normal sinus rhythm. Other medicines include rate control medications. Though they don’t help in controlling your heart’s rhythm, they do prevent the ventricles from beating too fast.¬†

Heart afib

Antiplatelet therapy helps reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots. But this doesn’t mean you can’t suffer from afib.¬†

How To Live With It

So, you or your loved one is diagnosed with heart afib, you need to know what you should do so your or your loved ones heart remains healthy. So, here are a few tips. 

The first thing is obviously to begin a diet chart. Begin to eat smart and healthy. Your diet should be heavy on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean protein. Other healthy diet tips you can follow are: 

  • A healthier-fat, low salt diet
  • Avoid trans fat, sale, saturated fat so your cholesterol levels and blood pressure remain set
  • Limit your caffeine intake¬†
  • Limit your consumption of soda energy drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate¬†
  • Alcohol: A drink or two only if your doctor approves of it. And if you take blood thinners then be careful as alcohol can make you bleed too much.
  • Regular intake of vitamin K. Again if you are on blood thinners be careful especially with food rich in vitamin K like lettuce, spinach, and broccoli.

Other Vital Points Include

Be active by doing a bit of exercise. Yes, even if you have Afib, you can exercise. This will help you maintain your weight, making your heart much stronger. Overweight people are more prone to Afib. Plus you should quit smoking completely. The nicotine in them may be appealing, but it will only make matters worse for you. For that matter you can get a heart attack, one you might not come back from. 

Get 7-9 hours of sleep. It’s true because of Afib, most people complain of not being able to sleep properly as their breathing stops because of a condition called sleep apnea. If you are unable to get adequate sleep, consult with your doctor.¬†

Heart afib

Control Stress

Stress triggers Afib episodes. So you should try to remain stress free. Whenever you feel anxious or perplexed try doing some:

  • Deep breathing, or
  • Some light exercise, or
  • A little meditation, or
  • Yoga, or
  • Get a little massage done.¬†

But if none of these help you, then you should consult with your doctor or join a support group for some help. 

Who’s At More Risk?¬†

In case you read just for information and don’t really know anyone with Afib, that’s great. But if you are wondering to whom it can happen to or want to be on the safe side, well:

In general, older people are more prone to it. Atrial fibrillation is very rare in children so, you don’t really have to worry. But it is possible. If you take care of the diet and be active, you can avoid it from happening.¬†

If your blood pressure is not in control and has been like this for  a while, you are at risk of Afib. 

If you or your family has a history of heart disease, valve problems, acute coronary syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, history of heart attacks, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

And if you have had heart surgery, atrial fibrillation is common. 

If you’re an athlete, you are Laos prone to having Afib. Athletes have a rapid heartbeat as their heart beats rapidly and can trigger Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

People with thyroid problems, in particular hyperthyroidism, asthma, diabetes and any other chronic medical problem.