Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke in people

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

It is important to continue with treatment even after heart rhythm returns to normal

New Delhi, 14th May 2018: Patients with an irregular heart rhythm, which puts them at a higher risk for stroke, still need treatment even after their heart rhythm seems to have returned to normal, according to a recent study.[1]

People with atrial fibrillation (AF) are much more likely to develop blood clots and suffer from strokes. To avoid strokes it is important for them to take drugs to prevent blood clotting.

AF is the most common heart rhythm disturbance. Those with this condition may be aware of noticeable heart palpitations, where their heart feels like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly. Sometimes it does not cause any symptoms and a person who has it is completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The first manifestation of AF can be a stroke. Often, the first time you learn that patients have AF is when they present with a stroke. AF is responsible for 20% to 33% of all strokes and 20% to 45% of patients who have an AF–related stroke did not have a prior diagnosis of AF. A single ECG or pulse check to screen for incidental ambulatory AF in those >65 years would detect 1.4% of individuals with AF both in the general population and clinic. Incidentally, detected AF in asymptomatic and ambulatory patients is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke, MI and all–cause mortality, but treating the detected arrhythmia with oral anticoagulants can significantly improve the prognosis of these patients.”

Some symptoms of atrial fibrillation include racing or pounding heart, excessive anxiety, sense of breathlessness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and syncope.

Adding further, Dr Balbir Singh Chairman Electrophysiology and Pacing at Medanta , said, “As with other conditions, the best way to manage your heart health is to make sure you see your doctor regularly and reduce the risks. Lifestyle changes made at a younger age can go a long way in preventing any damage to the heart. It is imperative to inculcate such habits right from the childhood. Elders can set an appropriate example by eating, drinking, and living healthy. Once an Af is noted every effort must be made to revert it to sinus rhythm by drugs or ablation”

Some tips from HCFI

Quit smoking and drinking as they are two major factors in causing damage to the heart.
Manage your cholesterol levels as any imbalance in this can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Keep a check on vitals such as blood pressure and blood sugar. Any fluctuations in these can directly impact the heart in the longer term.
Ensure that you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Eat a variety of healthy food including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

[1] Study by University of Birmingham