Do you feel a fluttering in your chest? It may be AFib.
Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, is a condition in which your heart's upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically. This ultimately speeds your heart rate, decreases blood flow and increases the risk of clot formation within the heart. This is a common arrhythmia that most people do not feel. Some people detect an irregular, fast heartbeat, while others may feel their heart “fluttering,” or skipping beats known as palpitations. It has many causes, but is strongly linked to high blood pressure and coronary disease.
Although atrial fibrillation itself usually isn't life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.
Atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots forming in the heart and blocked blood flow. If left untreated, atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related death and can significantly increase the risk for stroke. Because this condition doesn’t always present with symptoms, many people are unaware that they are experiencing atrial fibrillation until they are examined by their doctor.
Symptoms may include:
• Heart palpitations, i.e., an irregular heartbeat or a fluttering feeling in the chest
• Weakness or fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness, dizziness or confusion
• Chest pain