All You Need to Know About Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, also known as AF, is an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm that begins in the upper part of your atria. Atrial fibrillation can result in poor blood movement from your atria to your ventricles. While A-fib is usually not considered a life-threatening condition, it is a chronic health condition that requires proper medical treatment to prevent the risk of heart failure, stroke, and other heart-related complications. In this article, we will take a closer look at the possible treatments for Upper East Side atrial fibrillation.

What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?

Some people experiencing Atrial Fibrillation often do not notice any symptoms. However, there are some patients with AF who may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sensations of a fluttering, pounding, or fast heartbeat
  • Fatigue

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

The heart has four chambers – two lower chambers (ventricles) and two upper chambers (atria). The heart’s upper right chamber consists of a group of cells known as the sinus node, which serves as your heart’s natural pacemaker. In people with atrial fibrillation, the signals in the heart’s upper chambers are abnormal, leading to a fast and irregular heart rhythm. The following are some of the common causes of atrial fibrillation:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Congenital heart defect
  • Lung diseases
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Viral infections
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Heart valve problems
  • Use of stimulants, including caffeine, alcohol, medications, and tobacco
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Physical stress due to pneumonia, surgery, or other illnesses
  • Thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism and other metabolic imbalances
  • Obesity
  • Old age

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

When diagnosing atrial fibrillation, your doctor will ask you some questions about your physical activity, diet, family history, and any atrial fibrillation-related symptoms you may have noticed. Your healthcare provider will then perform a physical exam or some medical tests to make an accurate atrial fibrillation diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Blood tests. Imbalances in our blood can sometimes be the cause of atrial fibrillation. Your provider will perform some blood tests to show your thyroid and potassium hormone levels and help your doctor determine a suitable treatment option.
  • Electrocardiogram. An Electrocardiogram is a painless medical test that usually takes less than three minutes. This test measures and records your heart’s electrical signals and helps your provider check your heartbeat.
  • Echocardiogram. An Echocardiogram is a test that involves the use of ultrasound technology to monitor your heart’s movement. It can detect any problems with your heart muscle contractions and blood flow.

What are the treatments for atrial fibrillation?

Based on your atrial fibrillation symptoms, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe the following treatment solutions:

  • Rhythm control medication. They include; propafenone, procainamide, amiodarone, sotalol and others.
  • Anticoagulant medications such as; aspirin and warfarin help lower the risk of stroke and blood clots.
  • Rare control medications such as diltiazem, digoxin, verapamil, and metoprolol help ventricles from beating abnormally fast.

At Upper East Side Cardiology, we ensure all our patients receive reliable and effective diagnostic medical tools like stress testing and echocardiograms. Led by Dr.Satjit Bhusri and a team of well-trained medical experts, we will provide you with comprehensive and personalized treatment solutions for most of your cardiovascular complications such as hypertension, varicose veins, palpitation, heart failure, A-fib, and chest pains. Get started today and book an appointment online or call our offices.