Most of us are at least familiar with the term “arrhythmia.” Now, whether or not we really understand what an arrhythmia is, how it functions, or what causes it is an entirely different matter altogether. Imagine being at a dance and instead of gliding across the dance floor in perfect harmony with your partner and the music, you’re always one step off the beat from everyone else – either too fast, too slow, or simply in your own little dance-beat land that makes no sense to you, your partner, and certainly has no relationship at all to the music. The same is true of an arrhythmia: the heart beats too fast, too slow; or simply some place irregular place in between.
Of all the arrhythmias, the most common is an atrial fibrillation. During atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart – the atria - aren’t able to dance in step with the lower heart chambers – the ventricles. Think of it this way… the atria is auditioning for River Dance while the ventricles and trying out the latest hip hop steps – the result is not good!! Atrial fibrillation gets its name from the rapid, irregular contracting – or fibrillation – that occurs in the atria.
Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of heart failure, premature death, and stroke. Persons with high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, structural or congenital heart defects, pericarditis, prior heart attacks, sick sinus syndrome, sleep apnea, obesity, diabetes, and lung disease are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation. In addition to these risk factors, a new study led by Professor Henrik Toft Sorensen at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, revealed that commonly used non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS and COX-2 inhibitors may lead to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
NSAIDs are commonly used to treat minor conditions such as fever, menstrual cramps, arthritis, coughs, colds, headaches, and other minor or sports related injuries. In addition, NSAIDS also reduce inflammation.