Atrial fibrillation is a fast-paced, irregular heart rate that can increase your probability of having a stroke, experiencing heart failure and other heart complications. When this condition occurs, the atria (the heart’s two upper chambers) beat rapidly and irregularly with the ventricle (the heart’s two lower chambers). You may also experience heart palpitations, weakness or shortness of breath. Some atrial fibrillation cases are minor and symptoms will often subside. However, for more serious cases of atrial fibrillation, emergency treatment may be required.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Most individuals with atrial fibrillation do not have obvious symptoms and may be completely unaware that they have this condition. Those with the condition may experience the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Inability to exercise
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
Consult with the pharmacist and doctor about your symptoms and conditions. A physical examination may take place along with a review of family and medical history. Several tests may be required to diagnose your exact condition, including:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): The ECG uses small electrodes that attach to the individual’s chest and arms to record electrical signals that pass through the heart. This tool is most commonly used to test for atrial fibrillation.
- Holter Monitor: This monitor is essentially a portable ECG device that records heart activity for 24 hours or more. It can be carried or worn on a belt and allows your pharmacist with a look at your heart activity.
- Blood test: A simple blood test can test for thyroid issues or other issues in your bloodstream that may be causing the atrial fibrillation.