This page is unedited from the Mayo Clinic website.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms often include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.
Episodes of atrial fibrillation can come and go, or you may develop atrial fibrillation that doesn’t go away and may require treatment. Although atrial fibrillation itself usually isn’t life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.
It may lead to complications. Atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots forming in the heart that may circulate to other organs and lead to blocked blood flow (ischemia).
Treatments for atrial fibrillation may include medications and other interventions to try to alter the heart’s electrical system.
Some people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until it’s discovered during a physical examination. Those who do have atrial fibrillation symptoms may experience signs and symptoms such as:
- Palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flip-flopping in your chest
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Atrial fibrillation may be:
- Occasional. In this case it’s called paroxysmal (par-ok-SIZ-mul) atrial fibrillation. You may have symptoms that come and go, lasting for a few minutes to hours and then stopping on their own.
- Persistent. With this type of atrial fibrillation, your heart rhythm doesn’t go back to normal on its own. If you have persistent atrial fibrillation, you’ll need treatment such as an electrical shock or medications in order to restore your heart rhythm.
- Long-standing persistent. This type of atrial fibrillation is continuous and lasts longer than 12 months.
- Permanent. In this type of atrial fibrillation, the abnormal heart rhythm can’t be restored. You’ll have atrial fibrillation permanently, and you’ll often require medications to control your heart rate.
When to see a doctor
If you have any symptoms of atrial fibrillation, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may order an electrocardiogram to determine if your symptoms are related to atrial fibrillation or another heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia).
If you have chest pain, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Chest pain could signal that you’re having a heart attack.
From The Mayo Clinic. Thomas J. Salinas, D.D.S.
Many studies have shown a connection between gum disease (periodontitis) and other serious conditions, including heart disease. Research suggests that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and that people with chronic gum disease have increased thickness of their neck blood vessels. There is also a strong correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from professional teeth cleanings. Read more…
YOUR MOUTH (ORAL)
By American Heart Association News
A third of U.S. adults have had symptoms consistent with a mini-stroke, but nearly no one – only 3 percent – called 911 for help, a survey released Monday shows. The responses from 2,040 adults in a representative sample showed 35 percent had experienced at … Continue reading
It’s not hard to learn the steps to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Our kids are being taught it in school. Now it’s your turn. The Beegees Stayin’ Alive helps this family learn, maybe it will help you.
In 1991 the television program 60 Minutes speculated that French people’s consumption of red wine may be responsible for their low incidence of cardiac disease. Americans jumped on the bandwagon; red wine consumption in the United States rapidly increased 44%.
The following is condensed from Harvard Heart Letter by Julie Corliss
The evidence that drinking red wine in particular (or alcohol in general, for that matter) can help you avoid heart disease is pretty weak, says Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an internist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. All of the research showing that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have lower rates of heart disease is observational. Such studies can’t prove cause and effect, only associations.
Moderate drinking — defined as one drink per day for healthy women and two drinks per day for healthy men — is widely considered safe. But to date, the health effects of alcohol have never been tested in a long-term, randomized trial.
The French Paradox
The French Paradox refers to the notion that drinking wine may explain the relatively low rates of heart disease among the French, despite their fondness for cheese and other rich, fatty foods. Another argument stems from the fact that the Mediterranean diet, an eating pattern shown to ward off heart attacks and strokes, features red wine.
The French Paradox may not be so paradoxical after all. Many experts now believe that factors other than wine may account for the observation, such as lifestyle and dietary differences, as well as earlier underreporting of heart disease deaths by French doctors. What’s more, Dr. Mukamal notes, heart disease rates in Japan are lower than in France, yet the Japanese drink a lot of beer and clear spirits, but hardly any red wine. Read more
Below Harvard gives you the answers to three questions about your heart that you may have been curious about:
While shoveling isn’t dangerous for many people, certain people are at higher risk. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that both men and women should check with a doctor first if they don’t get regular exercise, have a medical condition or are middle-aged or older.
If you must shovel, know the symptoms of a heart attack.
Here’s some tips from the Heart Association for safer shoveling:
- Take frequent rest breaks.
- Use a small shovel.
- Don’t eat a big meal or drink alcohol before or soon after shoveling.
- Be alert for signs of hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. Symptoms include shivering; slow, shallow breathing; confusion; loss of coordination; exhaustion; and a slow, weak pulse.
Condensed from the American Heart Association News
Children are far more likely than adults to get headaches when having a stroke, a new study suggests.
“Stroke should be considered as a possible diagnosis in any child with a headache and additional symptoms of weakness or numbness (in the face, arm or leg) or changes in walking, talking or vision,” said Lori L. Billinghurst, M.D., M.Sc., clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Urgent brain imaging may be required to distinguish a migraine with aura from a stroke.”
Please read more…
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