Know the Signs of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib, is a form of irregular heartbeat that’s diagnosed when the two upper chambers of your heart try to beat at different rates. Left untreated, these irregular beats can cause blood clots. Eventually, AFib can lead to stroke or heart failure.

Fortunately, you have options to manage AFib and safeguard your longevity. But that comes down to knowing the symptoms and getting proper treatment. That’s why Michael Avaricio, MD,  an atrial fibrillation specialist, offers dedicated AFib care at Advanced Cardiac Care in Queens, New York. 

Understanding atrial fibrillation

Your heart consists of different chambers. They all need to work together to pump blood throughout your body.

When you have AFib, your heart’s upper chambers beat irregularly. This causes the upper chambers to get out of sync with the lower chambers. Because your heart can’t adjust to the interrupted rhythm, it can’t deliver the proper amount of blood to the rest of your body.  

What AFib can do if left untreated

If you don’t do something to address AFib, this lack of proper blood flow can lead to blood pooling in your heart. Eventually, blood clots can form. 

And that’s not all. These clots may then move to other parts of your body, including the brain, causing a stroke. 

The irregular beats can also make your heart work harder than necessary. This excess stress puts you at risk for heart failure.

Types of AFib

There are four types of AFib, each characterized by how long the irregular rhythm lasts:

Paroxysmal fibrillation

If your AFib lasts less than seven days and your heart goes back to a normal rhythm without medical intervention, you have paroxysmal fibrillation.

Persistent AFib

After seven days, you’re diagnosed with persistent atrial fibrillation. Still, though, your heart may be able to return to a regular rhythm without much intervention.

Long-standing AFib

If your heart maintains an irregular rhythm for a year or longer, you have long-standing AFib. This form of AFib usually requires continued care and treatment.

Permanent AFib

With permanent AFib, it’s unlikely that your heart will return to a regular rhythm. Treatment usually involves long-term care and lifestyle changes.

Signs of AFib

Common AFib symptoms include: 

People with AFib often feel chest pain, too. Call a doctor immediately if you’re experiencing chest pain. It could be AFib or a heart attack. 

Getting treatment for AFib

Dr. Avaricio tailors your AFib treatment to you. If you’ve developed blood clots, for example, he might prescribe blood thinners. 

He also explores medications and surgical methods for treating AFib with you. If surgery is the right call for you, Dr. Avaricio offers minimally invasive surgery to shrink your risk and downtime afterward.  

AFib is easiest to manage when it’s caught early. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms we outlined above, call our office or schedule your appointment online today.

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