Atrial Fibrillation What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation, also known as A-fib or AF, affects more than 2 million adults in the United States and is one of the most common types of arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms). The risk of developing A-fib increases with age. That means that as the average age in the United States increases, more people will be affected by this condition.
Atrial fibrillation causes your heart to beat irregularly and sometimes much faster than normal. Also, your heart’s upper and lower chambers do not work together as they should. When this happens, the lower chambers do not fill completely or pump enough blood to your lungs and body. This can make you feel tired, lightheaded, or dizzy. You may also feel like your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, pounding, or beating too hard or fast. You may also feel chest pain. Blood may pool in your heart, which increases your risk of forming clots and can lead to strokes or other complications. Atrial fibrillation can also occur without any symptoms, which can make it hard to diagnose. Atrial fibrillation may cause heart disease or worsen existing heart disease. . If left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications, like stroke or heart failure
Sometimes atrial fibrillation goes away on its own. For some people, atrial fibrillation is an ongoing heart problem that lasts for years. Over time, the irregular heart rhythm may happen more often and each episode may last longer. Your healthcare provider may recommend medicines, medical procedures, and lifestyle changes to treat your atrial fibrillation. Treatment may restore normal heart rhythm, help control your heart rate and symptoms, and prevent complications.