5. “Can I die from my Atrial Fibrillation? Is it life threatening?”
Most episodes of A-Fib are not life threatening. Even though you may feel awful, it’s not like having a heart attack.
The biggest danger from A-Fib is the risk of stroke. Because your heart isn’t pumping out properly, blood clots can form and travel to the brain causing stroke. If you have A-Fib, you are five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population. You may need to take a blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin) or a NOAC to help prevent these clots from forming.
If you’ve had A-Fib for a long time, your heart may enlarge, develop fibrosis and eventually weaken. You may become more prone to other heart problems. For example, If you have A-Fib and aren’t being treated by a doctor, you are five times more likely to have a stroke than the general population. Also, A-Fib may lead to mental deterioration. Atrial fibrillation is independently associated with senile, vascular, and Alzheimer’s dementia.
For more about the physiology of A-Fib, see our Overview of Atrial Fibrillation.
Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions by Newly Diagnosed Patients
Newly diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation patients have many questions about living with A-Fib. These are answers to the most frequently asked questions by patients and their families. (Click on the question to jump to the answer)
1. Cause: “Did I cause my Atrial Fibrillation? Am I responsible for getting A-Fib?”
2. Severity: “My doctor says I had an attack of Atrial Fibrillation. How much trouble am I in?”
Related Question: “Is Atrial Fibrillation a prelude to a heart attack?”
Related Question: “Can I die from my Atrial Fibrillation? Is it life threatening?”
3. Anomaly? “Could my Atrial Fibrillation go away on its own? I don’t want to take any medication. Can I just wait and see?”
Related Question: “Is it possible to have a single Atrial Fibrillation attack and not have any others? I had a single episode of A-Fib and was successfully converted in the ER with meds.”
Related Question: “How can I tell when I’m in A-Fib or just having something like indigestion?”
5. Driving: “Can I drive my car if I have Atrial Fibrillation?”
6. Nutrition: “Is drinking coffee (tea, colas, other products with caffeine) going to make my Atrial Fibrillation worse or trigger an A-Fib attack?”
Related Question: “Is there a diet I could follow which would cure my Atrial Fibrillation?”
7. Medical ID: “Should I carry a wallet card or a medical ID? I have A-Fib and take Coumadin (warfarin). In case of an A-Fib emergency, what information should I include?”
8. Coping: “I have a lot of stress at work. Does this stress cause or trigger my Atrial Fibrillation?”
Related Question: “I live in fear of my Atrial Fibrillation. I never know when I’m going to get an A-Fib attack or how long it will last. How do I deal with the anxiety?”
Related Question: “Is there anything I can do to get out of an Atrial Fibrillation episode? How do others deal with their episodes?”
9. Specialist? “Should I see a cardiologist for my Atrial Fibrillation and not just my primary care doctor? (He wants to prescribe medication.) Should I also see an A-Fib specialist?”
10. Cure? “Is Atrial Fibrillation curable? Or can you only treat or control it? Should I seek a cure?”
If you find any errors on this page, email us. ♥ Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2017
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