Wednesday, May 20, 2015

AFib - A Dancing Heart

Have you ever checked your own pulse or been lying quietly in bed at night, only to notice that your heart suddenly seems to be firing rapidly or irregularly every once in a while?  According to a brochure I recently received from Saddleback Memorial Hospital in Southern Califoria, this is called Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and it increases your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease.

I experienced this for a short time when my thyroid medication was set at too high a dose.  I have also heard of people experiencing it on certain diet medications.  However, sometimes it seems to happen for no reason at all.  If this is happening to you, be sure to report it to your doctor.

Symptoms of AFib

In addition to noticing that your heart seems to have palpitations or a stutter every once in a while, you may also have other symptoms:

Dizziness
Low energy
Chest discomfort
Shortness of breath

Of course, whether you are experiencing palpitations or not, you should talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Treatments for AFib

Fortunately, doctors do have an arsenal of different treatments they can try in order to get your heart operating smoothly again.  Here are the ones that were mentioned in the brochure I received:

Medications that can soothe your heart and help it maintain its normal rhythm.

Electrical cardioversion which is a shock to your heart.  This is done to "reset" it.

Catheter Ablation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is done to destroy tissue or cells that could be causing the irregular rhythm.

Cryoablation is similar to other types of ablation, but it "freezes" the unwanted tissue.

Pacemakers are frequently implanted under the skin near the collar bone to keep the heart from beating too slowly.

What You Can Do to Keep Your Heart Healthy

We all want to do everything we can to keep our heart working properly.  While medical intervention should be sought whenever we suspect that something is wrong with our heart, we also need to do our part to maintain it.

Get exercise
Maintain a healthy weight
Do not smoke
Eat a diet low in trans fats and saturated fats
Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol

The most important thing you should get from this article, however, is that you should tell your doctor if you notice anything unusual about your heartbeat.  It's a condition that can easily be treated and getting it taken care of could prevent you from having a heart attack or stroke.

If you are interested in learning more about health and other issues that could affect your during retirement, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page.  They contain links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  www.morguefile.com

2 comments:

  1. I have felt like my was racing all of a sudden, but it has only happened once or twice and that was a couple of years ago. I have lost some weight since then and been eating better, so that may have solved the problem. I will definitely visit the doctor if it happens again. Thank you for the information, sharing this on G+!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, Sheila. I really do hope that you will see your doctor if it happens again. It is more serious than many people realize!

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