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Atrial Fibrillation Health Center

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Atrial Fibrillation - Topic Overview


How is it treated?

Your treatment will depend on the cause of your atrial fibrillation, your symptoms, and your risk for stroke.

Medicines are an important part of treatment. They may include:

  • Blood-thinning medicine to help prevent strokes.
  • Rate-control medicines to keep your heart from beating too fast during atrial fibrillation.
  • Rhythm-control medicines to help bring your heart rhythm back to normal.

Doctors sometimes use a procedure called cardioversion to try to get the heartbeat back to normal. This can be done using either medicine or a low-voltage electrical shock (electrical cardioversion).

If you have symptoms that are hard to live with, ablation may help. It destroys small areas of the heart to create scar tissue. The scar tissue blocks or destroys the areas that are causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

What can you do at home for atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is often the result of heart disease or damage. So making changes that improve the condition of your heart may also improve your overall health.

  • Don't smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber grains and breads, and olive oil.
  • Get regular exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week. Your doctor can suggest a safe level of exercise for you.
  • Manage other health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Manage your stress. Stress can damage your heart.
  • Avoid alcohol if it triggers symptoms.
  • Avoid getting sick from the flu. Get a flu shot every year.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 05, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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