Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular and very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart. AFib increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other-related complications.
In this diagram, you can see how the heart muscle quivers during an episode of atrial fibrillation (right). The electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) shown here also highlights the difference between the steady normal sinus rhythm (left) and the fast, erratic heartbeat in atrial fibrillation (right).
The illustration shows how a stroke can occur during AFib. If a clot forms in the left atrium of the heart, a piece of it can dislodge and travel to an artery in the brain, blocking blood flow through the artery. The lack of blood flow to the portion of the brain fed by the artery causes a stroke.
Unbeknownst to me (Tom Ryan) at the time, I had Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). My heart had formed a blood clot that went to my brain. About 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic, like mine, and one in five people with AFib will experience a stroke at some point in their life. This is my Stroke Story and actual Atrial Fibrillation date on my iPhone from July 6, 2021.Read My Story
- About 2.7 million people are living with AFib.
- People with AFib are 5X more likely to have a stroke.
AFib Prevention Measure
- Nutritious diet
- Regular exercise
- Healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
- Manage stress
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- Control diabetes
- Get optimal sleep
These are the primary symptoms that should trigger you or a family member to take actions and call 911.
- Heart is skipping a beat
- Fluttering or pounding heartbeat
- Chest tightness
- Heart beating too hard or fast
- Shortness of breath
While many factors might be involved in contributing to AFib here are a few you should be aware of and manage with your doctor, don’t put it off.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Cholesterol LDL levels
- Race & ethnicity
- Family history
- High stress levels
- Unhealthy lifestyle