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What is AFib?

Are you aged 65 or older and you find yourself out of breath, even when you haven’t been moving? You may be suffering from atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

An AFib Attack

During an AFib attack, the electrical signals that tell your heart to start beating becomes out of order. This malfunction affects two upper chambers of the heart (called atria) and causes them to quiver. It also disrupts the blood flow into the lower chambers of the heart or the ventricles, and causes them to contract faster or beat in an irregular manner. Because of this, the ventricles may not be able to pump blood to the rest of your body as it should.

The trembling in your atria may lead to blood pooling which may further cause blood clots. These blood clots may pump out of the heart, go to the brain and cause blockages which may then lead to a stroke.

What Are the Symptoms of AFib?

  • Quivering or fluttering heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

The Causes of AFib

Common conditions that lead to AFib are:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the covering of the heart)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart surgery, taking certain medications and binge drinking may also lead to AFib.

What Are the Treatment Options for AFib?

  • Medications for heart rate and rhythm
  • Blood thinners that can prevent blood clots and thus reduce risk of stroke
  • Electrophysiology treatments such as pacemaker placement or ablation
  • Lifestyle changes (i.e., consuming a healthier diet and exercising regularly)

How Can You Reduce Your Risk for AFib?

  • Consuming a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your blood pressure
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of AFib, contact Cardiovascular Associates at 855.93.HEART or visit them online at CVAPC.com. AFib may come and go, but it may also be permanent and may increase your risk for stroke and blood clots, so please seek care before it even gets worse. Your heart care is our #1 priority.

Sources:

American Heart Association

Centers for Disease Control

Healthline

Know Your Numbers

Over the years you have probably memorized a lot of numbers – Your home phone number, cell number, social security number, home address, and maybe even your driver’s license number or bank account. While these numbers are important, so are a few more that can tell you how healthy you are or if you need treatment for certain medical conditions.

You should know what your blood pressure is because high blood pressure, which has no symptoms, can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack or kidney failure. Normal blood pressure should be 119/79 or lower. A reading of 140/90 or above is a sign of high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be controlled by making healthy lifestyle choices and taking medications if necessary.

You can find out if your current weight is healthy by calculating your body mass index, or BMI, which is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered to be underweight; normal is 18.5 to 24.9; overweight is 25 to 29.9; and 30 or higher is considered obese. Obesity can increase the risk for certain cancers, depression, gallbladder and heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Even a modest weight loss of 10 percent of your current weight can help lower your risk for developing diseases associated with obesity.

Triglycerides are a kind of fat found in your blood that your body uses for energy. An elevated triglyceride level can increase the risk for heart disease. Normal triglyceride levels are: less than 150 mg/dL; borderline-high, 150 to 199 mg/dL; high, 200 to 499 mg/dL; and very high, 500 mg/dL or higher. High triglycerides usually don’t cause symptoms but can be lowered through diet and lifestyle changes.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by the liver and found in certain foods. Elevated cholesterol can lead to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup and cause chest pain, heart attack or stroke. Total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL. A total cholesterol that is 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high; 240 mg/dL and above is considered high. Cholesterol can be lowered through lifestyle changes and medications.

The sugar that the body uses for energy is called glucose. Elevated glucose levels can indicate diabetes, a chronic disease that occurs when the body fails to process sugar correctly. Normal results for a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test would show a fasting level of 60 to 100 mg/dL, a one-hour level of less than 200 mg/dL, and a two-hour level of less than 140 mg/dL. A two-hour level of 140 to 200 mg/dL would indicate pre-diabetes, and a level over 200 mg/dL would be a sign of diabetes.

Do you know your numbers?  Do you hate those numbers?  Your heart health can’t wait!  For more information about cholesterol, triglyceride or glucose tests, as well as healthy blood pressure and weight ranges, call CVA at 855-93-HEART and make that appointment today!

Heart Disease is the No. 1 Killer of Women

You may know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S. So, what is different for women?

  1. One in three women will develop heart disease in their lifetime.
  2. More women die of coronary heart disease than men, and fewer women survive a first heart attack.
  3. Ninety percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. Healthy lifestyle choices can make a positive difference.
  4. Risks for heart disease increase with age, especially after menopause, but can actually happen at any age, such as with pregnancy-related complications or many ovarian cysts.
  5. Heart attack symptoms can be as subtle as arm, neck, jaw or back pain, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting or dizziness/lightheadedness.
  6. Women are less likely to receive guideline-recommended therapies, such as aspirin, and less likely to have interventions such as stenting. Talk with your doctor about heart disease.

Take care of yourself by not ignoring symptoms, getting an annual screening/checkup and asking questions about your heart health.

The providers of Cardiovascular Associates and here for you and want you to know, YOUR HEART HEALTH CAN NOT WAIT!  Call 855-93-HEART and make that appointment today!

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