HEART DISEASE

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common and important disturbance of the electrical system of the heart. It is characterized by uncoordinated atrial activation with consequent deterioration of mechanical function. It is one of a number of disorders commonly referred to as ‘arrhythmias’ or ‘dysrhythmias’, in which the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm.

Some symptoms for AF including:
• Irregular and rapid heartbeat
• Heart palpitations or rapid thumping inside the chest
• Dizziness, sweating and chest pain or pressure
• Shortness of breath or anxiety
• Tiring more easily when exercising
• Fainting (syncope)

AF itself usually isn’t life-threatening. But it can lead to other serious problems. These include chronic fatigue, congestive heart failure and stroke.

In 2010, the estimated numbers of men and women with AF world-wide were 20.9 million and 12.6 million, respectively, with higher incidence and prevalence rates in developed countries. One in four middle-aged adults in Europe and the US will develop AF. By 2030, 14 – 17 million AF patients are anticipated in the European Union, with 120 000 – 215 000 newly diagnosed patients per year.

The most common causes of AF are long-term high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (reduced blood flow to the heart caused by clogging of the arteries) or valvular heart disease (problems with the valves of the heart that normally keep blood flowing in the right direction). Another less common, but treatable, cause is hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland).
Atrial fibrillation
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