Atrial Fibrillation.....my Experience
What is atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation, also know as Afib, is a disorder found in over 2 million Americans. When the heart is in Afib, the two small upper chambers (the atria) quivers instead of beating effectively. When the heart is not beating properly, and quivering, blood isn't pumped out completely and it may pool, and thereby clot. The danger in clotting, is if a clot in the atrial leaves the heart, and becomes lodged in the brain, the results is a stroke. This is what was explained to me when I was hospitalized (more about that later), and also I researched the subject to learn more about it, for my own benefit.
I never realized how common it is, as a matter of fact for most people who have Afib, the condition is not diagnosed until it is triggered by something else, some common causes are, stress, stimulants,(coffee, drugs, etc). On a sight called,Wrong Diagnosis.com it lists symptoms of atrial fibrillation, which are as follows.
- Irregular heartbeat
- rapid heartbeat
- Rapid beating of upper heart chambers
- Chest Pain
"Atrial fibrillation is often asymptomatic, and is not in itself generally life-threatening, but may result in palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or, if untreated for a long time, it could result in congestive heart failure. The latter can be reversed if medications to control AF are started soon enough." This statement is taken from: Wikipedia
Atrial Fibrillation treatment
"In making the diagnosis, your health care provider will consider the severity of symptoms, and whether they are new, or have been going on for some time. You may be referred to a specialist in heart disorders, (cardiologist) during this evaluation. Choice of treatment for atrial fibrillation depends on the type you have, the severity of your symptoms, the underlying cause, and your overall health." This statement is taken from a site called, emedicine.com. Below you will find a link to a site that explains the overall treatments recommended for atrial fibrillation.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation link
My experience with atrial fibrillation began in late January, 2009. In hindsight, I have actually had the condition for years, but because I am considered stoic, and I don't like to complain, so I've never let it affect my life. When I look back, I should have taken care of it sooner. I digress.
For over two weeks I wasn't feeling well, and I even complained about it, very uncharacteristic. Because I don't like to sleep or even rest during the day, I, and others around me should have seen the signs. I use my bed for nighttime sleeping, not for daytime resting, so when I went to bed during the day, that should have signaled a red flag. I would get up and do the things that I had to do and come back home and get in the bed, and stay there until the next morning. This went on for over two weeks. My symptoms were; very irregular heart rate, very fast (tachycardia), to very slow, (bradycardia). How fast? Sometimes 145(resting heart rate), and as low as 38, (my normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 70 beats per minute). It had to get to the point of me passing out before I gave in and allowed myself to be taken to the emergency room. Upon reaching the emergency room, I was immediately sent to the cardiac section of the emergency room, and subsequently admitted. I have no idea what triggered the episode. Without a lot of details, I was hospitalized twice within two weeks for a total of 8 days. As of today, I'm fine, however, this is a condition that I have now, and I have to live accordingly. I'm still trying to live my life the same as before, and to an extent I am succeeding.
I am actually taking no medication at this time. The medicines that were prescribed for me at the time were:
- Warfarin, (Coumadin)
- Diltiazem, (Cardizem)
- Amiodarone Hcl, (Cordarone)
- Flecainide Acetate, (This one I carry with me in case my heart decides to attack me and beat out of control)
I don't like to take medication, so I was thrilled to be taken off all that medication. However I love life and if I need medication I will take it. So to keep from taking medication, I'll be vigilant about my health henceforth.
Since atrial fibrillation is not a heart disease as such, some might look at it not too serious, however if left untreated, serious consequences, could occur. So, If you, a family member or friend is acting out of character, I advise taking immediate action. Acting out of character, as related to atrial fibrillation, in this case would be, in my opinion, uncharacteristically complaining, complaining of rapid heart beat, tiredness, breathlessness, palpitations, weakness, etc, also giving in to the desire to rest. Those could be signs that something is amiss. Those could be signs of something else, but I say better safe than sorry.
Of course there is more to the condition than I was able to add here, so I've added a link below for more details.
More about atrial fibrillation
- Atrial Fibrillation Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment on eMedicineHealth.com
Learn about atrial fibrillation, a rapid, irregular heart rhythm.
© 2009 Alfreta Sailor