Atrial fibrillation is the presence of an irregular heartbeat that occurs when the atria of the heart projects up to 300-600 beats per minute. The atria is known as the “pacemaker” of the entire heart, as it signals the lower ventricles to beat and pump blood to rest of the body. If the atria is beating too fast, the ventricles may not be able to keep up, which produces an irregular heartbeat or abnormal arrhythmia.
The most serious side effect of atrial fibrillation is stroke, which can occur when the abnormal heart rate causes blood to pool and form a clot. This clot can then travel from the heart to the brain and produce a stroke. At Corrielus Cardiology, we realize the severity of atrial fibrillation. Our Philadelphia practice is led by a skilled cardiologist who specializes in non-invasive cardiovascular care. He brings extensive knowledge and experience when diagnosing and treating conditions of the heart. We can detect the presence of atrial fibrillation using EKG, echocardiogram and Holter monitors.
Symptoms & Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
It is not uncommon for patients with atrial fibrillation to have no symptoms at all. However, a rapid heart rate, irregular pulse, fatigue and shortness of breath can occur. Atrial fibrillation can develop in those who have a history of heart problems such as heart attack, heart valve disease, inflamed heart muscle or previous heart surgery. However, irregular heart rhythms can also be a result of a congenital defect and are commonly associated with hypertension, diabetes and lung disease. While gender and age can play a role in determining your risk for atrial fibrillation, there are also lifestyle factors that can increase your likelihood for developing the condition.
Treatment of an Irregular Heartbeat
Irregular heartbeats may be treated with antiarrhythmic medications, blood thinners or aspirin. However, effective treatment of atrial fibrillation begins with determining the root cause and often includes proper management of atrial fibrillation risk factors.
At Corrielus Cardiology, we help patients understand the importance of managing the distinctive risk factors for irregular heartbeat. Dr. Corrielus may recommend the following:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Controlling cholesterol levels
- Losing excess weight
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Avoiding tobacco smoke or stimulant drug use
- Participate in regular physical activity
To schedule a consultation or testing for atrial fibrillation at Corrielus Cardiology, please contact our office in Philadelphia today. Our doors are open to patients of all ages and cultures. We have a team of dedicated physicians who consider it a privilege to help you improve your heart health and protect your quality of life.