Atrial fib is a condition that affects more than 2 million people in Canada. It is a disorder of the heart’s rhythm, resulting in irregular heartbeats. These irregular heartbeats can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including blood clots and stroke, as well as heart failure. Discover the intricate relationship between A-Fib and stroke, its implications, and effective prevention strategies
Know the Signs of A-Fib
- Fluttering heartbeat: A sensation of the heart beating rapidly, irregularly, or “fluttering” in the chest. This can often feel like a quivering or thumping sensation.
- Dizziness: A feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or a sensation that the surroundings are spinning. Dizziness can occur as a result of the irregular heart rhythm affecting blood flow to the brain.
- Chest pain or pressure: Discomfort or tightness in the chest area, which may feel like pressure, squeezing, or aching. This symptom can be a result of the heart working harder or irregularly due to A-Fib.
- Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing or the impression that not enough air is being inhaled. Breathing difficulties, particularly while exerting oneself physically, can result from A-Fib because it reduces blood flow to the rest of the body, including the lungs.
- Fatigue or weakness: A general feeling of tiredness, weakness, or a lack of energy. A-Fib can lead to an inadequate supply of oxygen-rich blood to the body, resulting in persistent fatigue or weakness even with minimal physical activity.
It is essential to consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these signs, as they can indicate an underlying heart condition like A-Fib and stroke that requires medical attention.
A-fib is a heart condition that causes an erratic heartbeat and a buildup of blood in the heart’s chambers. An ischemic stroke may result from blood clots that easily form as a result of this restricted circulation and move to the brain. People with this illness have a 3-5 times higher risk of stroke than those who do not have it. Limit Your Risk
There are important steps A-fib patients can take to lower stroke risk:
- Taking prescribed blood thinners to prevent clotting
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
- Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol
- Exercising regularly and losing weight if overweight
It’s important to know your options when it comes to A-fib and stroke. New anticoagulants and ablation procedures can help manage the condition, but it’s important to talk to your cardiologist about all the options available to prevent stroke. We are encouraging people who have A-fib to get checked out and get the right diagnosis and treatment. That way, you can stay on top of your heart health and reduce the risk of stroke.
- Heart and Stroke Foundation, Atrial Fibrillation
- Mayo Clinic, Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms and Causes
- Virani SS et al. Atrial Fibrillation, CJC Open. 2022
- National Blood Clot Alliance, Atrial Fibrillation and Blood Clots