What Are the Risks With Atrial Fibrillation?

What Are the Risks With Atrial Fibrillation?

Under ideal circumstances, your heart maintains a steady rhythm of 60-100 beats per minute, which totals 100,000 times per day and a whopping 35 million times a year. When you have an arrhythmia, your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular, all of which can lead to serious complications, including stroke, and this is certainly true of atrial fibrillation.

Also called AFib, the team of top cardiology experts here at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists has a clear understanding of the risks that come with an arrhythmia such as this, and we want to share this information here.

Atrial fibrillation basics

Your heart is made up of four chambers — the upper atria and the lower ventricles — which work together to circulate oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. With AFib, your upper atria don’t beat properly, which compromises the flow of blood to your lower ventricles. As a result, you can develop a heart rate that’s too fast, too slow, or irregular.

The complications of AFib

There are nearly three million people in the United States who live with AFib (the CDC expects this number to rise to more than 12 million by 2030), which places them more at risk for some very serious health issues.

Far and away, the biggest risk with AFib is stroke, which occurs when the flow of blood to your brain is compromised by a blood clot or plaque. The American Heart Association reports that 15-20% of people who have a stroke have AFib. 

More eye-opening is the fact that the risk for stroke among those who have untreated AFib is five times greater than among those who seek treatment (and the risk for heart-related death is two times greater).

Outside of these serious consequences, living with AFib can also lead to ongoing problems with heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Treating AFib

After extensively evaluating your AFib and your risks, our goal is to restore your health and reduce your chances for more serious health problems, which we can accomplish through:

When we mention surgery, we typically reserve this treatment option for those with moderate-to-severe AFib. The surgeries we perform include a catheter ablation, an electrical cardioversion, or the installation of a pacemaker.

Of course, our goal is to avoid surgery, and we’re often able to treat AFib using medications, lifestyle changes, and vigilant oversight.

The bottom line is that AFib is a condition that you shouldn’t ignore. For excellent treatment and management of your AFib, contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up a consultation.

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