Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) affects at least 2.2 million people in the United States, and most of them don’t know they have it because the condition can be tricky to diagnose.
Men and women don’t usually ask their doctors about A-fib because the symptoms are often so mild that they go undetected. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.
But when A-fib is left untreated, it’s a dangerous heart condition that impacts the upper chambers of the heart and increases your risk of stroke by 5 times.
A survey of 1,200 people uncovered many patient misconceptions about A-fib, and 61% of stroke survivors didn’t know they had A-fib before they had a stroke.
As advocates for preventive medicine, we at Phoenix Heart, PLLC want to help prevent strokes by offering lifesaving screenings.
What is atrial fibrillation?
Your heart controls the contractions in its chambers using electrical signals. When these signals get out of rhythm, your heartbeats become irregular.
A-fib affects the two upper chambers of the heart, leading to blood clots and long-term complications such as chronic fatigue, stroke, and heart failure.
Causes of atrial fibrillation
There are many different health issues and lifestyle choices that can lead to A-fib:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Heart surgery
- Congestive heart failure
- High thyroid levels
- Alcohol abuse
- Caffeine and other stimulants
- Recreational drugs
Risk factors for A-fib include obesity, diabetes, being over 60, sleep apnea, hypertension, and genetic predisposition (your doctor may ask you about your family history).
A-fib screening may save your life
Unlike many other health conditions, A-fib is difficult to diagnose without a screening.
Its symptoms overlap with several less serious conditions, and in many cases, it doesn’t come with any symptoms at all. Only screening can determine if your heart is healthy.
Fortunately, A-fib screening is painless and noninvasive. An added bonus is that, once diagnosed, A-fib isn’t a life sentence. There are many treatment options depending on how advanced the condition is.
Since this condition doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age and gender, it’s a good idea to be aware of your heart’s state no matter at what stage you are in your life.
Give yourself peace of mind by scheduling an appointment for an A-fib screening with our specialists at one of our locations in the Greater Phoenix area.