Chest pain, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and fast heart rate; have you experienced such symptoms? If yes, you might have atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate.Upper East Side atrial fibrillation (AFib) can lead to poor blood flow, which can cause blood clots, putting you at an increasingly high risk of heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure, to name a few complications. AFib occurs when the atria (upper part of the heart) are not in sync with the ventricle (bottom part). Atrial and ventricular contractions must be in sync to facilitate smooth blood flow. When the electrical signals are off-kilter, they don’t work together, causing an irregular heart rhythm. Among the common AFib risk factors includes:
AFib risk increases with age, mainly attributed to your heart’s condition. It is prevalent in individuals at or older than 60 years. This is because the chances you have had or are battling conditions like heart disease are high, increasing the chances of irregular heartbeat. You can’t stop aging, but adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help lower the risk of advancing age.
AFib is hereditary, meaning that if your parent or close relative has AFib, you are at increasingly high risk. While, like aging, you have no control over genetics, you can still take measures like proper diet and physical activity to mitigate AFib risks.
Chronic conditions put you at risk of developing various complications, AFib included. The common conditions that increase AFib risk include:
- Thyroid disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure and other cardiovascular-related conditions
You can lower the risk by staying on top of the conditions, including taking medication as prescribed, adopting a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and doing routine doctor’s visits.
Excessive weight or obesity puts you at risk of AFib and other cardiovascular-related health concerns. Shedding the extra pounds lowers AFib risks while enhancing your overall wellness.
Are you a smoker, or do you drink – excessively? Smoking impacts your overall cardiovascular health, including increasing AFib risk. Alcohol does the same, and even worse can trigger an AFib attack in some people. Revising your lifestyle is recommended, especially if you are at high AFib risk.
Stressful situations affect your heart rhythm. This worsens with emotional concerns like panic disorders. As you strive to lower AFib risk and improve your cardiovascular health, giving your emotional well-being the attention it deserves will help.
Some medications can lead to AFib. For instance, if you take high doses of steroid-based medication, for example, for arthritis management, you increase AFib risk. Over-the-counter medication containing caffeine and other substances that increase your heart rate also puts you at higher AFib risk. Your heart’s health is critical, and understanding the common risk factors that put it in jeopardy is vital as you endeavor to keep it in top shape. AFib may not be life-threatening, but its complications, if left untreated, are severe. Contact Upper East Side Cardiology today for more on atrial fibrillation, the risk factors, prevention measures, and treatment options.