What Is AFIB?

Could that fluttering in your chest be atrial fibrillation?

A healthy heart rate ranges from around 60-90 beats per minute. So if your heart rate ranges between 100 to 175 beats per minute, this could indicate an arrhythmia known as Afib, or atrial fibrillation. Learn more about Afib, its symptoms and when to turn to our Houston, TX, board-certified and board-eligible physicians for an evaluation.

Why Is Afib Serious?

Problems with electrical signals in the heart cause the upper chambers to contract much faster than normal. As a result, blood builds up in the upper chambers (also known as atria) instead of traveling through the ventricles and to the rest of the body. This can increase the risk for blood clots, strokes and heart failure.  

What Are the Symptoms of Afib?

Some people can have Afib and not even know it. When symptoms are present, they often include,

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluttering or racing heart
  • Weakness

Are There Risk Factors for Afib?

While Afib can happen to anyone, certain factors can increase your risk of developing Afib. These factors include,

  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Being over 50 years old
  • High stress
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Genetics

What Happens if I Suspect Afib?

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s a good idea to visit our Houston, TX, team for an evaluation. An electrocardiogram is the best way to diagnose Afib and may require us to provide you with a referral to a cardiologist. A cardiologist can also offer treatment options to help manage Afib symptoms.

How Is Afib Treated?

First, a cardiologist will need to assess the individual’s chance of a stroke and determine which treatments and medications are best. Medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers can help lower an individual’s resting heart rate, so it’s in a normal range. Anticoagulants or blood thinners may also be prescribed if you are at an increased risk for stroke due to Afib.

If Afib cannot be controlled through a healthy lifestyle and medications, your doctor may recommend a procedure known as catheter ablation, which uses radiofrequency to stop abnormal heart rhythms.  

Will It Go Away?

While there is no cure for Afib, medications, nonsurgical procedures and even surgery can be successful at helping people better manage their symptoms for long periods of time.

If you are living with Afib or experiencing symptoms of Afib and want to schedule an evaluation with our Houston, TX, doctors, then call Lawndale Medical Care today at (713) 924-4907.