Interactive Tool: What Is Your Risk for a Stroke if You Have Atrial Fibrillation? - What does your score mean?
Your score will appear
in as a value from 1% to 99%. If your score is 5%, it means that 5 out of 100
people with this level of risk will have a stroke in the next 5 years. If your
score is 10%, it means that 10 out of 100 people with this level of risk will
have a stroke in the next 5 years.
These percentages are one way
your doctor can decide if an anticoagulant (blood thinner), such as warfarin, is the right medicine to help lower your risk of stroke. Talk with your doctor about the best
way to lower your risk of stroke.
Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, happens when your normal heart beat or rhythm is changed and may not be able to pump enough blood. About 1% of Americans have AFib.
Millions of people with long-lasting AFib live quite well, said Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, director of the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a past president of the American Heart Association. "It's very possible to live a normal life for many years."
If you or someone you know has been...
If you are above a 10%
risk, talk to your doctor about taking an anticoagulant. You will want to weigh the benefits of reducing your risk of stroke against the risks of taking an anticoagulant. These medicines work well to prevent stroke. But they also increase the risk of bleeding. Your doctor may also check your risk of bleeding from an anticoagulant to see if it's right for you.
If you are at a 10% risk or
lower, you may get enough protection from stroke by taking aspirin. Aspirin may be a good choice if you are young and have no other heart or health problems or if you can't take an anticoagulant safely. Aspirin doesn't work as well as an anticoagulant to reduce your stroke risk. But aspirin is less likely to cause bleeding problems.
Other antiplatelet medicines, such as clopidogrel (Plavix), may be used. Your doctor may have you take them with aspirin or instead of aspirin. When aspirin and clopidogrel are used together, they may reduce the risk for stroke more than aspirin alone. But this combination is also more likely to cause bleeding than aspirin alone.