Paid for by the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance
A group of healthcare providers and advocacy experts explain what AFib is and how it can lead to stroke.
What if someone couldnt depend on their heartbeat being a steady and dependable rhythm? An estimated 8 million Americans are projected to be affected by AFib in 2019. AFib is the most common type of arrhythmia or irregular rhythm of the heart, and it has the potential to cause further complications, like stroke.
A known risk factor for developing AFib is advancing age: in fact, an estimated 9% of people age 65 and older have AFib. However, a history of certain heart disease or conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart failure, diabetes, obesity, heavy alcohol use and other factors can also increase a person's risk for developing AFib.
Dr. Rod Passman, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University and a cardiac electrophysiologist who specializes in abnormalities in heart rhythm, summarized the condition: Let's say your average heartbeat is 72 beats per minute if you live to 80, that's a few billion heartbeats. He went on to explain, For some, abnormalities may develop as they get older. With AFib, the top portion, or upper chambers, of the heart can beat very, very rapidly and irregularly.
AFib symptoms can vary, sometimes described as a "fluttering" heart feeling. Symptoms can include lightheadedness, shortness of breath and general tiredness, which can be more subtle. However, some people do not feel any symptoms at all. These symptoms may be worth keeping in mind, especially among those with advancing age or other risk factors.
Mellanie True Hills, CEO of StopAfib.org and patient advocate, started AFib Awareness Month to drive awareness of AFib and AFib-related stroke.
"When I was in AFib, my heart felt like a flopping fish or an unbalanced washing machine in my chest," she said. "But some people may not experience any of the usual AFib symptoms, or even any symptoms at all."
Apart from the AFib episodes themselves, the complications that can arise from AFib, such as stroke, are concerning.
A major concern around AFib is that it can increase your risk of stroke by four to five times, Passman said. And that's because, in AFib, the top portion of the heart is beating so rapidly and irregularly, blood can pool and form clots in the heart. If those clots dislodge or break off and go to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
Its important to maintain general wellness, stay on track with routine check-ups, and keep AFib and stroke risk in mind as you age.
Hills encouraged aging adults and those at higher risk of AFib to learn more about the condition and associated stroke risk by asking a doctor or other healthcare provider about AFib during routine care.
Sources and further reading:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Atrial fibrillation fact sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_atrial_fibrillation.htm. Accessed March 1, 2019.
2. Colilla S, Crow A, Petkun W, Singer DE, Simon T, Liu X. Estimates of current and future incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the U.S. adult population. Am J Cardiol. 2013;112(8):11421147.
From the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance:
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is projected to impact approximately 8 million people in the United States in 2019. Furthermore, AFib increases risk of stroke. Through the Matter of Moments initiative, the Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance aims to drive awareness of AFib and the associated risk of stroke by collaborating with expert healthcare professionals and advocacy organizations to provide resources that will help those at risk and their loved ones take charge of their health by talking to their doctor. To learn more, visit the Matter of Moments website.
- UI doctors discover new genetic mutation that causes fatal heart arrhythmias - UI The Daily Iowan - February 22nd, 2020
- Amish kids were dying mysteriously. Mayo scientists solved it. But can they treat it? - Minnesota Public Radio News - February 20th, 2020
- The Dangers of Weight Loss Supplements and Why You Should Avoid Them - One Green Planet - February 15th, 2020
- Cardiologs raises $15m in Aleven-led Series A funding round - Medical Device Network - January 10th, 2020
- Marion County Schools working to be "Heart Safe" certified - WDTV - January 10th, 2020
- Local leaders offer their Happy New Year wishes - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader - December 31st, 2019
- Beyond the Byline: Who really did steal the kishka? - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader - December 31st, 2019
- Ask the Expert: What is ventricular tachycardia, and what treatment options are available? - The Daily Progress - December 22nd, 2019
- Neurometrix (NASDAQ:NURO) and Boston Scientific (NASDAQ:BSX) Head to Head Contrast - Riverton Roll - December 22nd, 2019
- Student Heart check scheduled for Dec. 14 at Fordson High School - Dearborn Press and Guide - November 22nd, 2019
- Why Did the Young Mother Have Searing Head Pain and a Racing Heart? - The New York Times - November 2nd, 2019
- Media Advisory - Canadian Cardiovascular Congress gathers leading heart experts in Montreal to discuss latest research innovations - Canada NewsWire - October 24th, 2019
- Sanders Said He Had a Common Heart Procedure. So Why the Mystery? - The New York Times - October 9th, 2019
- abnormalities of cardiac conduction and cardiac rhythm ... - September 11th, 2019
- Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed ... - April 29th, 2019
- Procedures - Arizona Heart Rhythm Center - April 24th, 2019
- Inherited Heart Rhythm Clinic | LHSC - March 8th, 2019
- Overview of Abnormal Heart Rhythms - Heart and Blood ... - March 2nd, 2019
- Cardiac Rhythm - Coverage | Medtronic - January 23rd, 2019
- Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (Implantable ... - January 23rd, 2019
- Heart - Wikipedia - December 20th, 2018
- Troponin - Wikipedia - December 20th, 2018
- Cardiac Abnormalities Associated With Charcot-Marie-Tooth ... - December 8th, 2018
- Heart Arrhythmia - Arizona Heart Rhythm Center - November 20th, 2018
- Frequency of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities in a Half ... - July 11th, 2018