Raising Awareness of AFib

A heart arrhythmia involves rapid, slow or irregular beating of the heart. Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is one common type of heart arrhythmia. AFib is a serious heart and vascular condition that requires careful medical management. Yet, many people who have AFib do not realize it, because they lack symptoms. Furthermore, many people who have been diagnosed are not receiving the essential treatment they need to prevent complications. At The Heart and Vascular Institute at JFK Medical Center, we’re working to change that by providing innovative medical solutions and patient-centered care.

What Is AFib

Your heartbeat is controlled by the electrical system of the heart. Each electrical signal originates in the upper chambers (atria) and travels down to the lower chambers (ventricles). If you have atrial fibrillation, the electrical signals are irregular and too rapid, causing the atria to quiver ineffectively. Then, the ventricles pump irregularly and sometimes rapidly.

Why It Matters

When the heart cannot pump out all of the blood inside the chambers, some of it may be left inside the organ. These pools of blood can form blood clots. If a blood clot breaks away and travels in the bloodstream, it may reach the blood vessels leading to the brain. There, the clot may obstruct blood flow and deprive an area of the brain of much-needed blood. This causes a stroke, which can be deadly or lead to life-long disability.

What You Can Do

If you already have atrial fibrillation, you can reduce your risk of stroke by working with your doctor to learn how to manage your condition effectively. You may be asked to take medications, some of which may normalize your heart rate. Other medicines are available to prevent blood clot formation. Some people with atrial fibrillation may undergo medical procedures, such as ablation or cardioversion. If you don’t have atrial fibrillation, you can reduce your risk of developing it by avoiding tobacco, consuming alcohol and caffeine in moderation, and generally leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.

If you have atrial fibrillation or any other cardiovascular condition, the Heart and Vascular Institute at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis can help. We are committed to helping all of our patients live a heart healthy life. For more information or to request a physician referral, call us 24/7 at 561-548-4JFK (4535) or visit us online at www.JFKMC.com.

Categories: Heart, Atrial fibrillation

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