Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a kind of cardiac arrhythmia that is becoming more common. AFib affects 20.9 million men and 12.6 million women globally, with around 5 million new cases diagnosed each year. Atrial fibrillation is caused by changes or injury to your heart’s tissue and electrical system. Those alterations are usually caused by coronary artery disease or excessive blood pressure. A trigger heartbeat frequently initiates atrial fibrillation. However, it might be challenging to determine the reason for a triggered heartbeat. Some people have no apparent reason. Upper East Side atrial fibrillation often runs in families. So, if a close relative has AFib, you have a “family history” and thus a higher likelihood of having it.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease, often known as atherosclerosis, develops when the innermost layer of the heart’s arteries is damaged. Scar tissue grows in the arteries throughout the healing process, with cholesterol collecting on top—a mix of cholesterol and scar tissue (plaque) forms and causes artery constriction. If the artery gets entirely blocked, the reduced blood supply to the heart might result in a heart attack. If the heart attack causes enough damage to the heart muscle to cause heart failure, it might cause AFib. When a cardiovascular surgeon performs a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) to restore blood flow to the heart after a heart attack, AFib is a typical side effect.
Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder that raises the risk of AFib. Sleep apnea happens when your airway becomes temporarily blocked, causing pauses in your breathing while you sleep. These disruptions might occur several times throughout a typical night’s sleep. Interrupted overnight breathing puts a strain on your cardiovascular system. Regular airflow interruption might cause aberrant transmission of your heart’s electrical impulses, resulting in an episode of AFib.
Heart valve illness
Valvular AFib is caused by heart valve dysfunction. You are more likely to develop this form of AFib if you have an artificial valve or your cardiologist diagnosed you with mitral valve disease. A variety of valvular irregularities might impair blood flow and increase your chances of developing AFib. Mitral valve stenosis and mitral regurgitation are two prevalent disorders. If you have undergone valve replacement surgery with an artificial valve, you are also at increased risk of getting valvular AFib.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Hypertension is caused by the force of blood rushing through the arteries and causes slow but continuous damage. High blood pressure is the most typical cause of stroke and often occurs in persons with AFib. Moreover, high blood pressure can significantly raise the chance of getting new AFib and having it progress to permanent AFib.
Sick sinus syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome is a disorder caused by sinus node abnormalities that are most common in adults over 50. Scarring inside the heart’s electrical circuits can cause sick sinus syndrome. Damage to specialized tissue disrupts normal impulse transmission, resulting in slow, rapid, or irregular heartbeats. The condition is uncommon, and it may necessitate the installation of a pacemaker to manage the erratic pulse.
Untreated Afib can result in a stroke and other significant medical consequences. That is why it is critical to understand the symptoms and speak with your doctor about your specific risk factors. The best method to control the damaging consequences of AFib is to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, stick to a consistent medication regimen, and visit your healthcare team frequently. Call Upper East Side Cardiology or schedule a meeting to learn more about Atrial fibrillation diagnosis.