Atrial Fibrillation Awareness: StopAfib.org · TuneIntoAfib.com
Atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) is an irregular or apid heartbeat, or a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). It is characterized by palpitations, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
Since the blood doesn’t properly move from the atria into the ventricles and then on to the rest of the body, it can starve the body of oxygen-rich blood, leaving you feeling weak, tired, or even incapacitated. Even more serious is that the blood that remains in the atria can pool and create blood clots, which may get spawned to the rest of the body, causing a stroke. Stroke is not only the number three killer, it is the number one cause of permanent disability.
Afib can overwork the heart, and over a long period of time cause heart failure.
Some patients describe afib as feeling like skipped heartbeats, followed by a thud and a speeding up or racing of the heart. Others describe it as an erratic heartbeat, strong heart palpitations, or simply a rapid heart rate. For still others, it feels like fluttering, butterflies, or even a flopping fish in the chest. Others have chest and throat pressure that mimics a heart attack, or constriction around the left bicep.
The first time, it’s really scary, and you wonder, “Is this a heart attack?” It may leave you dizzy, faint, light-headed, anxious, breathless, weak, or just plain exhausted. For some people, afib doesn’t stop, and may continue on for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.
While it is often considered to be a minor health issue, it can actually be quite risky and potentially even life threatening. This progressive and debilitating disease can lead to stroke, heart failure, and Alzheimer’s disease, and can double your risk of death.
Afib takes physical, emotional, and financial tolls on both patients and their loved ones. StopAfib.org is here to help increase your knowledge about afib, help improve the quality of life of those living with it, and to help avoid an afib-related strokes.