1. “My doctor says I had an attack of Atrial Fibrillation. How much trouble am I in? (It was around 11:00 pm I was getting ready to go to sleep when my heart started going crazy, like it was trying to jump out of my chest. I panicked and drove to an Emergency room. But by the time I got there, my heart was normal again.)
A-Fib is probably the most frightening of heart problems. We take our heart for granted until it starts beating wildly out of control. Unlike other heart problems which often build up over time, A-Fib can come on like a ton of bricks, seemingly out of nowhere. A-Fib is a real shock not only to our body but also to our mind.
But as bad as A-Fib feels, it is probably the least immediately threatening heart problem. All things considered, you’re not likely to die from an A-Fib attack.
In A-Fib, the upper parts of your heart (the atria) start beating on their own out of sync with the rest of your heart; your heartbeat is irregular and rapid.
The biggest danger of A-Fib is the increased risk of stroke, because your heart isn’t pumping out properly. But that risk of stroke can be lowered by medications or by insertion of a Watchman device. Over time A-Fib can lead to more serious heart problems (because the heart is stretched and weakened).
Also, A-Fib may lead to mental deterioration because the heart isn’t pumping properly to the brain. As troubling as A-Fib is, many people have learned to control their A-Fib (usually with antiarrhythmic medications). Others seek a cure through a Pulmonary Vein Ablation (Isolation) procedure or surgery.
The bottom line: your A-Fib can be cured and/or controlled. But don’t delay. A-Fib is a progressive disease, and overtime becomes harder to cure.
Learn as much as you can about Atrial Fibrillation, knowledge dispels fear. Suggested reading: Overview of Atrial Fibrillation.
Last updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015