DR. MIGUEL CASTELLANOS, M.D, P.A.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS CARDIOLOGY

610 Strickland Dr. Suite #100

Orange, Texas 77630

(409) 886-7245

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION

WHAT IS ATRIAL FIBRILLATION (AFib)?

The speed and pattern of your heartbeat is called your heart rhythm and can be felt by feeling the pulse. Your heart rhythm is called an arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one type of abnormal rhythm. The muscle looks as if it is wiggling instead of squeezing (contracting). The electric signals that control the heart beat become disorganized. This causes the atrium to contract irregularly, or "fibrillate". The heart struggles to pump blood to the rest of the body.

WHAT CAUSES ATRIAL FIBRILLATION?

Among the many causes, the most common is aging. Other are heart problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure), congestive heart failure (CHF), mitral valve disease, lung disease, other illnesses like diabetes, overactive thyroid, caffeine, smoking, and consuming too much alcohol.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Many people have atrial fibrillation (AFib) and never feel it. Symptoms often include:

 

  • Skipping, fluttering of heartbeat
  • Heart beating too hard or fast
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest Pain
  • Tired when resting or when active
  • Swelling of feet, ankles, and legs
  • Feeling anxious

Even if you don't feel any symptoms, AFib is a serious disease. It increases the risk of other serious health problems such as heart failure or a stroke. Many people with AFib deal with additional health problems, including; obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

HOW CAN ATRIAL FIBRILLATION AFFECT YOUR HEALTH?

TREATMENTS FOR ATRIAL FIBRILLATION

Dr. Castellanos will suggest your options to help treat AFib. He could suggest medications such as rate controllers, rhythm controllers, or blood thinners. Other treatments are heart procedures such as cardioversion which is most often done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. Another type of procedure is Catheter Ablation often involves radiofrequency energy. This type of energy uses radio waves to produce heat that destroys the heart tissue. Studies have shown that RF energy works well and is safe. The most important type of treatment is lifestyle changes such as quit smoking, limiting/avoiding alcohol, and limiting/avoiding caffeine.

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