Mellanie introduces herself and describes atrial fibrillation.
I am Mellanie True Hills. I am a heart patient advocate and the CEO of stopafib.org, an atrial fibrillation patient website.
Atrial fibrillation is a quivering of the upper chambers of the heart called the atria. And when that happens it’s possible, it’s kind of like ponds come forming inside the upper chambers of the heart. So you can actually form clots inside the heart and at some point those clots can get launched out to the rest of the body and cause a stroke.
So, atrial fibrillation can cause a stroke. It can cause congestive heart failure from overworking the heart. It can also lead to Alzheimer’s or to dementia because of lack of oxygen to the brain.
Atrial fibrillation is one of those things that seem somewhat benign and doctors often consider it benign, but it’s not. The ramifications of having a stroke or heart failure are extremely severe. Stroke is the number three cause of death and the number 1 cause of permanent disability, and women seem to have a proportionately greater risk of stroke.
So, atrial fibrillation is not a benign condition. It’s a potentially deadly and certainly life changing condition. It’s the most common irregular heartbeat. So many people have it but unfortunately many people don’t know they have it. And as a result, if you are having palpitations, skipped heartbeat, if your heart feels like its flopping around in your chest, mention it to your doctor because the ramifications can be very severe.
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