Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of arrhythmia, affecting at least 2.7 million people in the United States. More worrisome, this number is expected to grow to more than 12 million by 2030, which makes understanding your risks extremely important as AFib can be life-threatening.
To help you determine whether you may be at risk for developing AFib, Dr. Farhad Aduli and the team of cardiovascular experts here at Louisiana Heart and Vascular have pulled together the following information.
Before we get into the risk factors for AFib, let’s briefly review the basics of the condition.
When we say arrhythmia, we’re referring to conditions that cause abnormal heartbeat rhythms, whether it’s too slow, too fast, or simply irregular. Atrial fibrillation falls squarely under this last one — irregular.
When your heart beats, the four chambers of your heart — the two upper atria and the two lower ventricles — contract and relax with each beat and send blood moving through your heart, your lungs, and then back out into your body. When you have AFib, your upper atria quiver instead of beat, which hampers the flow of blood through your heart.
The complications that can stem from untreated AFib are very serious. For example, it increases the risk for stroke fivefold and doubles the risk for heart-related death.
In order to stay one step ahead of AFib, it’s important to understand your risk factors for the disorder. These include:
Unfortunately, age is one risk factor you can’t do anything about, but it’s helpful to understand that advancing age plays no small role in AFib.
Having higher-than-normal blood pressure numbers is a major AFib risk factor and, fortunately, it can be within your reach to change these numbers. Often, diet and exercise are the keys to lowering your blood pressure, and we can help you find a plan that works for you.
If you have a pre-existing disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or asthma, to name a few examples, you may be more at risk for developing AFib.
Atrial fibrillation has been linked to genetics, which means if someone in your family has AFib, you may be more at risk.
While there are other factors that can increase your risk for developing AFib, such as binge drinking alcohol, the factors mentioned above are the most common ones.
If you meet any of these risk factors, you should be assessed for AFib and other potential cardiovascular issues. We offer a wide range of diagnostic tests, such as stress testing and echocardiograms, which can help us evaluate your heart’s rhythm.
If we identify AFib, we can design a treatment plan to help you stay healthy. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your condition, but it could include regular examinations, preventive measures, blood thinners to prevent clots, cardioversion to reset your heart’s rhythm, or other therapies. Through regular cardiology care, we can help you live your life to the fullest.
If you want to better understand your risks for AFib, please call 985-231-5713 or book an appointment online with Louisiana Heart and Vascular. We’re located in Covington and Franklinton, Louisiana, and we also serve patients from Mandeville and Slidell.