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  • Question 1/11

    Electricity in your heart tells it when to beat.

  • Answer 1/11

    Electricity in your heart tells it when to beat.

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    A healthy heart has a steady and regular beat like a clock. To make your heart beat, an electrical signal travels from the top of your heart to the bottom. That makes the heart squeeze and pump blood.

     

    A glitch in this electrical system can cause atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm.

     

    If you have AFib, the two upper chambers of your heart, called the atria, don’t beat normally or regularly. Instead, they beat too fast and quiver like a bowl of gelatin.  

  • Question 1/11

    Does stress cause AFib?

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    Does stress cause AFib?

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    Your heart may race when you're under pressure or beat faster when you work out, but that's normal. Damage to your heart's electrical system -- not how you feel or what you do -- causes AFib.

     

    Heart disease and high blood pressure are among the common reasons why people have it. Inflammation may also play a role. Sometimes, doctors don’t know why someone has AFib.

  • Question 1/11

    At rest, how many times does a normal heart beat in a minute?

  • Answer 1/11

    At rest, how many times does a normal heart beat in a minute?

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    Your heart is a marvelous muscle. It pumps blood to the rest of your body 60 to 100 times a minute. That's a normal resting heartbeat. AFib usually makes your heart go a lot faster: anywhere from 100 to 175 beats per minute.

  • Question 1/11

    You'll know if you have AFib.

  • Answer 1/11

    You'll know if you have AFib.

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    You can't always tell if there's a problem with the way your heart beats. Many people don't have symptoms. But common signs of AFib include a fluttering in your chest, a feeling like your heart is beating too fast or hard, dizziness, chest pain, and tiring easily while exercising.

  • Answer 1/11

    Who's most likely to get AFib?

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    Your risk of AFib goes up as you get older. That’s especially true if you're over 60.  As you age, your risk for heart disease and other health problems that can cause AFib increases. Family history can also play a role. About a third of people with AFib have a relative with it.

  • Question 1/11

    AFib raises your chances of:

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    AFib raises your chances of:

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    Someone with AFib is 5 to 7 times more likely to have a stroke. Their heart doesn't pump blood around the body the way it should. Sometimes, blood pools in the upper chambers of the heart and forms clots. If a clot goes to the brain, it can cause a stroke. Clots that travel to other parts of the body can also cause problems. Treatment can help lower the risk some.

  • Question 1/11

    The best test to see if you have AFib is:

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    The best test to see if you have AFib is:

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    It's simple and painless and is the most useful test to find AFib. An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records how fast your heart beats and if it beats in a normal way. It only tests your heartbeat for a few seconds, though. Your doctor may ask you to wear a device to monitor your heartbeat for longer.

  • Question 1/11

    What effect does binge drinking have on your risk of AFib?

  • Answer 1/11

    What effect does binge drinking have on your risk of AFib?

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    Some people get AFib after heart surgery or a heart attack. Other health problems -- too much thyroid hormone in your body, diabetes, and lung disease -- also put you at risk.  And binge drinking can wreak havoc on your heart, sending you into AFib.

  • Question 1/11

    A jolt of electricity to the heart can help with AFib.

  • Answer 1/11

    A jolt of electricity to the heart can help with AFib.

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    It may sound shocking, but this can get your heart back to a normal rhythm. The procedure is called electrical cardioversion. It uses a small, quick pulse of electrical current to help your heart beat normally. Your doctor will give you medicine to make you sleepy while he resets your heart rhythm.

  • Question 1/11

    If you have AFib, will you need a pacemaker?

  • Answer 1/11

    If you have AFib, will you need a pacemaker?

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    Some people’s AFib can be controlled with just medicine. Others can benefit from procedures that destroy tissue that may cause unusual rhythms. Other procedures create scars in the heart for electrical current to follow to keep it in rhythm. Only sometimes will your doctor decide you need a pacemaker.

  • Question 1/11

    Treating what condition may make your AFib may go away?

  • Answer 1/11

    Treating what condition may make your AFib may go away?

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    • Correct Answer:

    People with sleep apnea stop breathing when they're slumbering. This dangerous condition can cause AFib. Your doctor may order a sleep study if you have AFib, you snore, and you're overweight.

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Sources | Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on June 06, 2017 Medically Reviewed on June 06, 2017

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on
June 06, 2017

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

1) iStock

 

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “Ablation for Arrhythmias,” “Cardioversion,” “FAQs of Atrial Fibrillation,” “What is Atrial Fibrillation?”

Barnes Jewish Hospital: “Atrial Fibrillation.”

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: “Atrial Fibrillation.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Atrial Fibrillation.”

Harvard Medical School: “Atrial Fibrillation: Common, Serious, Treatable.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Atrial Fibrillation.”

Kidshealth.org: “Your Heart and Cardiovascular System.”

National Heart Foundation of Australia: “Cardiovascular Conditions -- Atrial Fibrillation.”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “How is Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosed?” “Signs and Symptoms,” “What is Atrial Fibrillation?” “Who is at Risk for Atrial Fibrillation?”

NIH: “How is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?”

National Stroke Association: “A-fib Stroke Connection,” “Living with Atrial Fibrillation.”

UpToDate: “Atrial Fibrillation Overview.”

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