Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib. This health problem is linked with other health conditions and researchers add “to the growing literature on the connection between atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular outcomes beyond stroke,” studies at the University of Oxford in England and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote.
They analyzed 104 studies including more than 9 million people, and 590000 people were with atrial fibrillation. They concluded that heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease sudden cardiac death are all associated with atrial fibrillation. Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles.
If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. About 15–20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia. This clot risk is why patients with this condition are put on blood thinners.
Even though untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a 5-fold increased risk for stroke, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition.
Doctors plan to take steps to lower the risk of these newly developed health risks.