Atrial fibrillation: a forecast of life

Atrial fibrillation (or fibrillation – AF) is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often palpitations. The normal heart rhythm should be regular with rate 60 – 100 beats per minute.

What is atrial fibrillation?

OP, as a rule, could lead to contraction of the ventricles of the heart, which causes the deterioration of their filling with blood and leads to a lack of effective pumping of blood throughout the body. Because of this, develop the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • General weakness and fatigue.
  • The pain in his chest.
  • Dizzy or faint.
  • Confusion.

There are the following types of atrial fibrillation:

  • Paroxysmal AF – episodes of arrhythmias begins suddenly and resolves on its own; it can last up to a week, but often less than 24 hours.
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation – an arrhythmia lasts longer than 1 week; it can make or halted with treatment.
  • Permanent atrial fibrillation – fibrillation in which the normal heart rhythm cannot be restored.

How dangerous is atrial fibrillation?

The OP has two severe complications:

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  • Stroke in AF the Atria can cause clots, sometimes entering the blood vessels of the brain, which leads to the development of this complication.
  • Heart failure appears due to the fact that the heart is inefficient at pumping blood through the body.

What are the principles of treatment for atrial fibrillation?

Treatment of AF depends on the characteristics of symptoms and the presence of other heart diseases. Goals of therapy include:

  • Prevention of blood clots to reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Rate control ventricular rate.
  • The restoration of normal heart rhythm.
  • The treatment of other diseases that increase the risk of development of AF (e.g. hyperthyroidism).
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People with AF who have no symptoms and do not have heart disease, do not need treatment because the rhythm can return to normal. Some patients with new-onset atrial fibrillation doctors can restore the normal rhythm of contractions with medication or electrical cardioversion. Recurring episodes of atrial fibrillation lead to changes in the electrical system of the heart, which causes persistent or permanent AF. Most of these patients need treatment to control the frequency of ventricular contractions and prevention of complications.

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The prognosis of atrial fibrillation

When doctors use the word «forecast», they mean forecasting the development and progression of the disease in the future – say, a year, 5 or 10 years. Therefore, the forecast of atrial fibrillation is predicting how the patient will live and control their disease. In General, most people with AF can live active, normal lives. However, there is a fairly high risk that they may develop complications of AF.

Life expectancy in AF depends on several factors, including patient age, type of atrial fibrillation, the effectiveness of treatment and presence of other diseases. In the presence of AF the risk of death is increased in 1,5 – 1,9 times, and the development of stroke in 2 times that is connected with her relationship with thromboembolic complications. Stroke is the biggest threat to life and health of the patient with AF. Its development is associated with formation of blood clots in the irregular and fast-twitch Atria. Blood clots can break off and be transported by the blood in the vessels of the brain. The risk of stroke in AF increases by the following factors:

  • Age more than 75 years.
  • Heart failure.
  • Hypertension.
  • Diabetes.
  • Transferred last stroke.
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The more of these factors a patient has, the higher the risk of stroke. The doctor can calculate the risk according to a special scale based on several indicators of history. To reduce the risk of stroke, in addition to medical treatment prescribed by a doctor, the patient may take the following important steps:

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  • Ask a doctor about how to control such risk factors as high cholesterol, increased blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Before using any other medicines (especially herbal remedies, and cold remedies) should be consulted with your doctor.
  • To comply with a rational and balanced diet, in which limited amounts of saturated fats and salt included enough fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.
  • To maintain a healthy weight.
  • Engage in regular physical exercise.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • No Smoking.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common rhythm disturbance. But with proper treatment of the OP and the lifestyle changes people with this disease can live a long, active and healthy life. The most important thing for a good life prognosis in this disease is to cooperate with the doctor to reduce the risk of stroke.