Coastal Heart Medical Group
Cardiology & Vascular Specialists located in Santa Ana, CA & Chino Hills, CA
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of heart murmur and can occur at any age. For accurate diagnosis and treatment of AF, visit the cardiovascular specialists at Coastal Heart Medical Group in Santa Ana, California. The team has more than 30 years of experience, and can help you improve your heart health and reduce your risk of complications, including heart attack and stroke. To learn about treatment options, call or schedule an appointment online today.
Atrial Fibrillation Q & A
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AF) — also called a-fib — is a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular issues. If you have AF, the upper chambers of your heart quiver irregularly rather than flexing and relaxing to pump blood from the atrium to the ventricles.
What causes atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation can develop in anyone, though it becomes more common as you get older. Other risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Underlying heart disease
- Drinking alcohol, especially binge drinking
- Family history
- Sleep apnea
- Other conditions, including diabetes, thyroid problems, and asthma
Getting an annual physical exam. including a cardiovascular screening from the team, can help you determine if you are at risk for AF.
What are the signs of atrial fibrillation?
In some cases, AF causes no symptoms, though the irregular heartbeat can be detected during a basic exam when the team listens to your heart through a stethoscope. Common signs and symptoms of AF include:
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat
- Fluttering or thumping sensation in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint or confused
- Fatigue when exercising
- Irregular sweating
- Chest pain or pressure, which requires immediate medical attention
If you experience a combination of these symptoms or chest pain, see the team for diagnosis and treatment.
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
To diagnose AF, the team begins by taking your medical and family history and completing a physical exam, including listening to your heart with a stethoscope. If the team notices you have an irregular heartbeat or hears a murmur, they complete additional diagnostic testing.
The most common types of tests used to diagnose AF include:
- Holter and event monitors
- Transtelephonic monitor
These tests record the electrical activity in your heart. Electrical activity follows a predictable pattern in normal hearts, but the activity is disrupted in specific ways with AF. Based on the results from these tests, your team determines your diagnosis and recommends treatment.
How is atrial fibrillation treated?
The team focuses treatment on lifestyle changes and medications to improve the function of your heart. These methods can decrease your symptoms and help your heart work better, while also reducing your risk of complications. Common medications include blood thinners, beta blockers, and blood pressure-lowering medications.
Set up a visit today at Coastal Heart Medical Group by calling or scheduling online.
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