FLEMING ISLAND – Since February is National Heart Month, it’s important for everyone to separate the truths from the myths about leading a heart-healthy life.
This week and next, we will explain some of the facts about atria fibrillation, as well as the benefits of adding a baby aspirin, red wine, vitamins and supplements to your diet.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart and often rapid heart rate that occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart beat out of coordination with the lower chambers. It’s often triggered by a chaotic electrical signal.
The truths part of it is, it is the most-common arrythmia that people have. It can run in the family, but not always necessarily.
For most people, there is a substantial risk enough of forming a blood clot in the heart, which can ultimately leave the heart and cause complications, stroke being the most-common one. Those people need to be on a strong blood thinner – something stronger that aspirin. Common ones nowadays are rugs like Xarelto, Eliquis, Pradaxa, and we still use Warfarin, although less so now.
There are a lot of things that provoke exacerbation of atrial fibrillation. Common ones are things like over simulation of the diet, so caffeine, alcohol and certain medicines can do it. Amphetamines, stimulating medicines, caffeinated medicines, agonists like Albuterol that people take of asthma or COPD. People in this part of the country, people who are in high-heat index’ people outside working or enjoying the day. They’re sweating. They having a lot of electrolytes shifts. That can provoke it. People have hyperactive thyroids, blood sugar problems, anemias. There are a lot of things that can provoke a-fib, so people have to do an excellent job of controlling all of those modifiable risk factors – and also controlling their lifestyle.
As far as myths, people don’t notice the symptoms that they have atrial fibrillation, which is not true. Atrial fibrillation is asymptomatic. People tend to be more symptomatic notice it if their heartrates are out of control, well above 100 beats per minute. People can live in rate control atrial fibrillation, somewhere between 60 and 100, not be symptomatic, so they don’t notice any palpitations or limitations. But they can still have atrial fibrillation.
Another common myth is if they had atrial fibrillation in the past, it went away and they don’t necessarily need to be on a blood thinner. They’re not noticing symptoms. Again, that’s not true. People can have reoccurrence of atrial fibrillation and not be aware of it.
Next week, the truths and myths about baby aspirins, red wine, vitamins and supplements and whether they provide a benefit to your heart.