Your Guide to Understanding Atrial Fibrillation
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Atrial fibrillation’s common name is Afib. The most common symptoms of this condition are palpitations, which are fluttering sensations in the chest. Some of the other common symptoms that one can experience are having short breath, feeling tired, and losing consciousness. There are patients with Afib who have no symptoms. The reason why there are people who have atrial fibrillation and experience symptoms and others don’t is not completely clear. In a majority of the patients, there is a fast heartbeat related to the symptoms. In some patients, symptoms can be associated with the heart beating too slowly during atrial fibrillation. The most common sign of Afib at a physical examination is an irregular pulse, which can be established by using a stethoscope.
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Patients who experience the symptoms of atrial fibrillation will be feeling unwell, especially those who have episodes of this condition that come and go. Any person who is suffering some or all of the mentioned symptoms should seek immediate help from health practitioners.
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Afib does not pose an immediate or direct threat of death, and you can find many patients living with the condition for many years. However, it is possible to experience severe complications from the condition, such as heart failure and stroke.
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The occurrence of stroke for patients with Afib per year is at 5%. A person with the condition has five times increased risk of experiencing a stroke compared to someone without it. You can experience a stroke in either of two ways, that is a blood vessel in the brain either getting blocked or beginning to bleed. The stroke where one experiences blockage is more common than one that is caused by bleeding. The blockage happens because blood cells tend to stick together and form clots, which then end up blocking arteries in the bloodstream. The cause of this is the uncoordinated electrical activity in the atria. When the blockage occurs in the brain arteries, one will suffer a stroke.
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The type of a stroke that you will suffer or the extent of symptoms that you will experience as a result of the stroke can vary depending on the part of the brain that is involved. The implications of the stroke will be higher when one has a bigger clot, which has resulted in a more significant blockage in the artery. It is, however, necessary that you get medical help if you have any symptoms pointing towards the presence of a stroke.
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When a patient suffers Afib for a long time, they can develop heart failure. One suffering heart failure as a result of other reasons may also end up with Afib.
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