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Could AFib Be Making Your Heart Race?
By: Dr. Puneet Sahgal
September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. If you or someone you know has ever said that it feels like their heart is racing, the culprit may be Atrial Fibrillation - also known as AFib or AF - an irregular heartbeat that affects more than 2.5 million U.S. adults and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.
AFib is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual's quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, and debilitating pain.
AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold. As the world population ages, the prevalence of AFib is projected to increase. In fact, in the next 30 to 40 years, the number of people diagnosed with AFib in the U.S. is expected to more than double. Increased public awareness of AFib, including its symptoms, warning signs and available treatment options, is an important strategy to help control the damage caused by AFib.
Treatment for AFib depends on how often you have symptoms, how severe they are, and whether you already have heart disease. General treatment options include medicines, medical procedures, and lifestyle changes.
If you are wondering whether you are at risk for atrial fibrillation, or whether you might have it already, the best recommendation is to talk with your primary care physician or cardiologist. Your physician can help increase your knowledge about AFib, help improve your quality of life if you are living with AFib, and help you avoid an AFib-related stroke or other debilitating incident.
Dr. Puneet Sahgal is board certified in cardiovascular medicine and internal medicine and is the medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. Equipped with state-of-the-art digital imaging technology, the lab provides a comprehensive array of services including emergency care during a heart attack, elective interventional and diagnostic cardiac procedures and more. RBMC is a recipient of the 2013 Gold Get with the Guidelines Achievement award for optimal care of heart failure patients. For more information about services, call +1-732-324-5302.
Woodbridge Center offers mall walking to men and women of all ages. Woodbridge Center is a safe, climate-controlled environment where you can get your exercise by walking the center. The mall entrance near Applebee's opens at 7:00 am, 7 days a week Sunday - Saturday. For more information visit the Mall Management Office or call +1-732-636-4600.