Atrial fibrillation (or AFib) is an exceptionally common rhythm disorder. It is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Solving the Problem
One of every four individuals 40 years of age or older will experience AFib during their lifetime. It is an irregular rhythm that comes from the top part of the heart. The most important part of this arrhythmia is that it makes it much more likely that this person will experience a blood clot to the brain (also known as a stroke). Because a stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States, it is vastly important that we detect it early on.
In some cases, starting on a blood thinner can be lifesaving, especially because they assist in keeping blood clots from forming. Risk factors for stroke in combination with AFib increase the benefits patients will experience with blood thinners. If you are 65 years old or older, diabetic, have vascular disease or hypertension, have had a previous stroke, or are female, using these may prove even more beneficial.
A Smarter Heart
Over the past few years, the use of smart devices to help patients be more aware of their health has received a lot of attention. These devices have become very sophisticated, even allowing you an increased awareness of your physical activity, weight and the rhythm of your heart.
When used on a daily basis, smart devices can be used to:
Track distance walked or run
Assist in keeping blood pressure logs
Document heart rate during physical activity
Detect bad heart rhythms
Early on, I witnessed my younger and more physically active patients using smart devices very frequently. Now we see them gaining traction and popularity by individuals who may be a bit older, who want to get in better shape and are aware of the benefits of tracking this kind of useful information. In conjunction with a good diet plan, physical activity and routine medical checks, smart devices can be part of an improved regimen to maintain and increase overall health.
Awareness Is Key
The interventions patients can pursue to prevent AFib still remain unclear. But maintaining a healthy weight, treating diabetes, controlling hypertension and detecting AFib are very important health issues. Once any of these are detected, the patient and their clinician can significantly decrease the life-threatening problems these diseases are associated with.
Remaining aware of your health and treating problems as they arise may lead to far better outcomes. This is why it is important to pursue a path of preventive medicine as opposed to damage control.
Choose To Heart Your Heart.
A heart-centered life means living for what’s important to you. But are you taking care of what makes it all possible – your heart that beats over 3,000 times per hour? At the Orlando Health Heart Institute, we’re here to help you keep the beat strong.Learn More