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How do you know if you have atrial fibrillation (AFib) if your heart skips a beat?

ANSWER

Possibly. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.

Cells in your heart make electric signals that cause your ticker to pump at a regular pace.

If you have AFib, your heart's two small upper chambers (the atria) don't beat normally. Instead they beat too fast, with the electric signals triggered from different parts of the chambers. That causes a rapid thumping in your chest. You may also have dizziness, sweating, chest pain, or shortness of breath. You might not have any symptoms at all.

You can manage AFib with your doctor's help -- but if you don't get it treated, you’re at risk for a serious blood clot or a stroke.

Ask your doctor to check you for the condition if you think you might have it.

From: What Are Heart Palpitations? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Heart Palpitations: Frequently Asked Questions."

Main Line Health: "Heart Palpitations: How Common Are They and Should You Worry?"

American Heart Association: "Warning Signs of a Heart Attack," "What is Atrial Fibrillation?" "What's the link between chronic stress and heart disease?"

National Library of Medicine:  "Heart Attack First Aid," "Atrial Fibrillation."

Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute: "When to Evaluate Heart Palpitations."

Brown University Health Promotion:  "Caffeine." 

Harvard Health Publications:  "Skipping a beat - the surprise of palpitations."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2018

SOURCES: 

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: "Heart Palpitations: Frequently Asked Questions."

Main Line Health: "Heart Palpitations: How Common Are They and Should You Worry?"

American Heart Association: "Warning Signs of a Heart Attack," "What is Atrial Fibrillation?" "What's the link between chronic stress and heart disease?"

National Library of Medicine:  "Heart Attack First Aid," "Atrial Fibrillation."

Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute: "When to Evaluate Heart Palpitations."

Brown University Health Promotion:  "Caffeine." 

Harvard Health Publications:  "Skipping a beat - the surprise of palpitations."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on May 2, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How do you know if you have premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) if your heart skips a beat?

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