An estimated 20-25 percent of strokes are a result of untreated atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib). AF is the most common type of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and it dramatically increases the risk of stroke – approximately five times! In the last 20 years, AF has become one of the most important public health problems and a significant cause of increasing health care costs in western countries.That is why we invite you to the “This is the rhythm of your life” challenge. In order to raise awareness about the importance of a regular heart rhythm, we invite you to post videos of people dancing to this song with a hashtag #StrokeEurope
The heart of a healthy person contracts 60-80 times per minute, but one that suffers from atrial fibrillation may contract within the now range, but in irregular rhythm.
Essentially, the heart of an AF patient works as if it is running a marathon, even if the patient is relaxing in a chair.
Because of the overactive heart, symptoms of AF most commonly include fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and even fainting. Some atrial fibrillation patients feel a “flopping” or pounding sensation in their chest. Some people do not feel a thing- Up to 94% of AF episodes are asymptomatic and in some cases stroke occurs as the first symptom of AF.
As in many other health conditions, the prevalence of AF increases with age. The most common cause of atrial fibrillation is longstanding, uncontrolled high blood pressure and heart disease. Additionally, atrial fibrillation is the most common complication after heart surgery.
Avoiding atrial fibrillation and subsequently lowering your stroke risk can be as simple as foregoing your morning cup of coffee. In other words, some AF cases are only as strong as their underlying cause. If hyperthyroidism is the cause of AF, treating the thyroid condition may be enough to make AF go away.
Doctors can use a variety of different medications to help control the heart rate during atrial fibrillation. Most AF patients have to seek other treatments, primarily anticoagulant therapy and/or a catheter ablation.
Patients whose heart rates cannot be controlled with drugs (or patients who simply do not want to take drugs) have to take other measures, such as targeted catheter ablation, a non-surgical procedure with a menacing name. New medical technologies enabled treating AF by this minimally invasive procedure that can be used before or when medication fails to control the heart rhythm. There are two main techniques we use to perform this procedure: Cryoablation (Cryo) and Radiofrequency (RF) ablation. In RF ablation, heat is applied to the tissue, and during Cryoablation, heat is removed from the tissue by introducing cold temperatures. Both types of ablation result in extermination of problematic heart tissue, formatting the scar inside the heart around pulmonary veins to block the conduction of electrical signals that trigger erratic heart rhythms.
How to accurately measure your heart rate?
To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats a minute. A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. If you notice anything strange, it is time to visit your doctor.