Atrial Fibrillation or Afib awareness month begins in September. We want you to know about this heart condition and what it means if you or someone you love is diagnosed with it.
What is A-Fib?
Afib stands for atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heart beat; beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly. The website A-fib.org describes the condition as feeling somewhat like butterflies in your chest and while that may not sound like a threat of death, a-fib increases your risk for stroke, hospitalization and death.
Afib Awareness Facts
- A-Fib Affects Over 5 Million People – According to the information provided by Physicians Weekly, it is estimated that over 5.1 million people have atrial fibrillation with the numbers increasing to 15.9 million by 2050.
- Age Increases Risk – While you can have a-fib at any age, it is more prevalent in those who are age 65 and over. 9% of those age 65 plus are affected while only 2% of those under age 65 have a-fib.
- Increased Risk of Stroke – If you have a-fib your chances of having a stroke increase drastically; as nearly 35% of those who have it will suffer from a stroke.
- Hospitalizations & Deaths – There are over 750,000 people hospitalized each year due to a-fib and approximately 130,000 deaths.
The CDC offers a short list of symptoms you could experience if you have atrial fibrillation. They include:
- Excessive Fatigue
- Heart Palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Pains
Go to an emergency room or call an ambulance if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. It is important to be diagnosed with a-fib so that it can be treated and aware of the risks associated with the condition.
The following risk factors can play an important role in not only determining if you may have a-fib but, if you are at a higher risk of getting a-fib.
- Heart Failure and/or other Heart Conditions
- Enlarged Chambers of the Heart (Left Side)
- High Blood Pressure
- Age 65 and over
These are the most common risk factors, but do not include all. For a complete list of risk factors, symptoms and facts you can download this free PDF from the CDC that will help you increase your a-fib awareness.
Be Proactive with Accredited Home Care
If you have a heart condition of any type, Accredited Home Care offers a number of in-home health services that can help you remain in the comfort of your home. Visit the free “my afib experience” website to take action in managing your condition. It’s important to recognize the importance of afib awareness month so you can take a proactive approach in aging healthy.
 Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, Arnett DK, Blaha MJ, Cushman M, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics — 2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association 2015;131:e29–e322
Photo by amslerPIX