Fast and irregular muscle contractions in your heart’s upper chambers, or atria, characterizes trial fibrillation. What causes this common erratic heart rate (arrhythmia) is rapid, disorganized electrical signal.
Yep, it’s an electrical system in your heart that keeps it thumping along at your “normal” rate and rhythm.
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation describes abnormal signaling resulting in offbeat contractions that begin suddenly and stop on their own. Paroxysmal is the most common form of atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation symptoms are an outcome of inefficient and insufficient blood being pumped around your body. You may experience symptoms, like:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- difficulty exercising
Damage to, or disruption of, your heart’s electrical system is the basis for atrial fibrillation heart rhythm issues. Frequently, this heart rate problem is a consequence of another health condition, such as:
- heart attack
- heart failure
- post surgery
- lung diseases
- high blood pressure
- sick sinus syndrome
- coronary artery disease
- rheumatic heart disease
- congenital heart defects
- structural defects ~ mitral valve disorders
- steroid therapy ~ asthma, certain inflammatory conditions
In some case, the cause of atrial fibrillation remains a mystery.
Stroke is a major health concern for those suffering with atrial type fibrillation. Accordingly, blood thinning medicines, like warfarin or aspirin, may be prescribed to help prevent blood in your heart from clotting.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation involves controlling the rhythm and rate of your heart, along with prevention of complications. Depending on your situation, treatment measures may encompass medicines, medical procedures and lifestyle changes.
Treating your underlying condition may be the only approach necessary to get your heart’s rhythm back to normal. For example, controlling your blood sugar level if you have diabetes.
Sometimes, to get a heart beat normal takes more drastic medical procedures:
- electrical cardioversion ~ jolt of electricity to “convert” the heart’s rhythm
- maze procedure ~ small cuts or burns made in the atria to reduce chaotic electrical activity
- radio frequency ablation ~ use of radio wave energy to destroy abnormal tissue that may be disrupting electrical signals
Healthy lifestyle measures that support a normal heart rhythm involve:
- not smoking
- reducing stress
- reducing salt intake
- regular physical activity
- healthy weight maintenance
- limit stimulants ~ alcohol, caffeine
- heart healthy diet ~ grains, fruits, vegetable
- diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol
Prioritize your health to reduce your cardiac arrest risk due to your heart’s disorganized electrical signal.