Medical experts explain how to detect and prevent atrial fibrillation

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Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:45 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million people are living with atrial fibrillation in the U.S.

Mandy Gaither says there are warning signs to be aware of and actions you can take to prevent the condition.

”If you have atrial fibrillation take it serious,” said Dr. Christopher DeSimone, Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Mayo Clinic.

Since atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots in the heart that can travel to the brain, and those who have it are at increased risk for stroke.

”Instead of having a coordinated contraction where the heart’s filling and contracting, filling and contracting, it’s almost chaotic, so it’s jiggling like you have a bag of worms,” said Dr. DeSimone.

Desimone says warning signs often include the following symptoms:

• A rapid heartbeat

• Chest Pain

• Dizziness

• Fatigue

• Lightheadedness

• Reduced ability to exercise

• Shortness of breath

• Weakness

Medical experts say to see your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms like the ones mentioned above.

”If atrial fibrillation goes untreated or unchecked, it could either be a marker or a reflection of underlying disease. It could lead to heart failure. It could lead to increased mortality,” said Dr. DeSimone.

The Mayo Clinic says having a heart-healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk.

Preventative action includes the following:

• Eating Healthy

• Regular Exercise

• Not Smoking

• Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine use

• Manage stress