TLC Medical Group Inc
Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases located in Port Saint Lucie, FL
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a condition in which your heart rate becomes irregular. If you have symptoms of AFib, board-certified cardiovascular expert Anthony Lewis, MD, FACC, of TLC Medical Group Inc in Port St. Lucie, Florida, can help. Dr. Lewis specializes in diagnosing and treating AFib and other forms of arrhythmia, so call his office or book an appointment online today.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of arrhythmia. It makes your heart beat with an irregular rhythm rather than a smooth and consistent one.
AFib develops because of an electrical malfunction in your heart. The heart's upper chambers (atria) quiver when you have AFib, so your blood can't move into your ventricles as it would with a regular heartbeat.
The outcome is that your atria beat too rapidly and your lower ventricles too slowly, resulting in atrial fibrillation.
Why would I have atrial fibrillation?
AFib is usually a complication of conditions such as:
- Thyroid disease
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Sleep apnea
- Heart attack
- Congenital heart defects
Some people develop AFib from exposure to stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco smoke, and certain medications may cause atrial fibrillation as a side effect. You may also have AFib for no identifiable reason.
Does atrial fibrillation cause any other symptoms?
Some patients who have AFib don’t suffer any additional symptoms, just the irregular heartbeat. Others experience problems such as:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chronic fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Problems exercising
- Recurrent syncope (fainting)
If you have AFib, it can lead to potentially life-threatening heart failure or stroke without treatment.
How is AFib diagnosed?
TLC Medical Group Inc has access to on-site testing facilities to help diagnose your AFib. Your provider first conducts a physical exam and a review of your medical history and symptoms.
After listening to your heart during your consultation, they might recommend one or more procedures such as:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Holter monitoring
- Event monitoring
- Blood tests
These tests can confirm that you have atrial fibrillation and may also isolate the cause.
What treatments are available for atrial fibrillation?
If caffeine, smoking, or medication is causing your AFib, you might just need to cut out the culprit to correct the problem. Underlying conditions like coronary artery disease and high blood pressure also require optimal management to minimize their effect on your heart.
There are several medications your provider at TLC Medical Group Inc can prescribe for atrial fibrillation. Beta blockers and similar drugs reduce your heart rate, and anticoagulants (blood-thinning medicines) lower your risk of stroke.
If your AFib is due to extra electrical currents in your lung (pulmonary) veins, pulmonary vein isolation ablation (PVA or PVI) might be necessary. Atrioventricular (AV) node ablation targets the cells that transmit the electrical signals.
In some cases, you might need a pacemaker to regulate your heartbeat.
If your heart is beating abnormally, call TLC Medical Group Inc or book an appointment online today.