AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat that often causes the heart to beat too quickly. One of the biggest concerns with AFib is the risk of stroke. In fact, people with AFib have approximately 5 times greater risk of stroke than those who do not have AFib. It is estimated that by 2030, approximately 12 million people in the U.S. will have AFib.
When it comes
TAKE IT FROM ME: DON’T WAIT
I want people to understand how important it is to contact your doctor when you experience symptoms like I had. I initially didn’t pay attention to my symptoms, which kept coming and going. Experiencing shortness of breath, fatigue, and light-headedness, any one of these should have prompted me to talk to my doctor. Instead, I learned about atrial fibrillation in the hospital. If you experience any of these symptoms, which may also include irregular heartbeat, heart racing, or chest pain, you should talk to your doctor. I’ve now learned that having AFib increases the risk of stroke about five times. Don’t learn the hard way. Tell your doctor. When it comes to your health, this is no time to wait.
During a normal heartbeat, the upper chambers (atria) and lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart work together to pump blood to the rest of the body. AFib occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly, and do not pump all of the blood to the lower chambers, causing some blood to pool and potentially form clots. If a clot breaks loose, it can travel through the bloodstream to the brain and lead to a stroke. Strokes related to AFib are often more severe compared to strokes with other underlying causes.
The risk of stroke due to AFib can be reduced. Doctors have options that can help reduce the risk of stroke associated with AFib.
People with AFib have approximately
5 times greater risk of stroke
AFib symptoms can come and go, and they can vary. Talk to your doctor if you experience one or more of these symptoms:
A feeling of your heart racing or skipping beats. This can happen when at rest or when performing physical activities.
A fast beating, fluttering, or racing heart. Similar to an irregular heartbeat, this symptom can happen at any time.
This symptom can appear in many forms, ranging from a sharp stabbing pain to a dull ache.
Shortness of breath
Often described as an intense tightening in the chest, difficulty breathing, breathlessness or a feeling of suffocation.
A persistent tired or sluggish feeling. If you are consistently feeling overtired, it may be considered fatigue.
Can cause you to feel dizzy or faint. Some people also feel nauseated when feeling
Download the symptom guide to prepare for your doctor’s visit.
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR
Could my symptoms be a sign of AFib or another condition?
What is the relationship between my symptoms and my level of physical activity?
Should I track my symptoms? If so, how should I track them?
What should I do if my symptoms come and go?
What are the AFib–related risks I should be aware of?
What options do I have to manage my risks?
What tests are done to determine if I have AFib?
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms
Complete the Symptom Checklist to prepare for your appointment
Consider speaking with a loved one about any symptoms you may be experiencing
Symptoms can also be associated with other potentially serious conditions not related to AFib.
Only a healthcare provider can determine whether these symptoms indicate AFib or another condition.