February is American Heart Month, a perfect time to learn about this common and increasingly common condition
Contact: Public Relations
(Feb. 1, 2018) – Atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common form of irregular heart beat or arrhythmia, is expected to increase as the American population gets older.
Every year, around 750,000 Americans learn that they have Afib, a condition in which the heart’s two upper chambers beat so quickly and irregularly that they are out of sync with the heart’s two lower chambers. Patients describe Afib symptoms as feeling like their heart is skipping a beat.
This uneven and rapid heart rate can increase patients’ chances of developing blood clots, increased risk of heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and death.
“Depending on the patient’s underlying condition, the patient can have three, four, five, or 10 -percent increase a year in the risk of stroke,” said Michael Kim, MD, an interventional cardiologist at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo.
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About 15 to 20 percent of patients who have strokes also have this heart arrhythmia.
As the American population gets older, there will be more cases of Afib, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Heart Association predicts that this condition could affect as many as 12 million people by 2050.
It is important for patients to know their bodies and be aware of when to seek help. Common symptoms that are often times overlooked include racing heart or fluttering, shortness of breath and light headedness. Possible risk factors for Afib are prior heart attack or heart disease, heavy alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, smoking or prolonged athletic conditioning.
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