What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
If you are experiencing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or weakness, you may be showing signs of a condition known as atrial fibrillation. As one of the best Tampa Bay cardiac specialists, Jesal V. Popat, M.D., FACC, treats patients for a variety of heart-related complications, including atrial fibrillation. In this brief article, we will break down the diagnosis and treatment options for patients experiencing the effects of atrial fibrillation.
What Are the Causes of Atrial Fibrillation?
For patients experiencing the effects of atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (known as the atria) beat at an irregular or rapid rate that is out of sync with the two lower chambers (known as the ventricles). Atrial fibrillation is common for people that have experienced heart damage or other heart-related complications. Some causes include: high blood pressure, heart valve issues, sleep apnea, heart defects, or a recent heart attack.
What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?
The effects of this condition can be minor with symptoms appearing from time-to-time (known as paroxysmal), persistently, or permanently. Atrial fibrillation can lead to a host of serious medical problems, including the forming of blood clots, blocked blood flow, and an increased risk of heart problems, including heart failure or a stroke.
If you have symptoms of atrial fibrillation, you may show the following signs:
Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
Lack of energy
Shortness of breath
It’s possible to have a condition like atrial fibrillation and not show any of the above symptoms, so it’s important to visit your physician annually for a physical examination. If you believe you have symptoms of atrial fibrillation, make an appointment with one of the top Tampa cardiac specialists. A cardiologist like Dr. Popat can accurately diagnose this ailment and provide you with an effective treatment plan.
Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation
As a heart’s condition can vary greatly for individuals experiencing the effects of atrial fibrillation, the first step a cardiac specialist will take on is to perform an accurate diagnosis of the condition of the heart. With access to a variety of groundbreaking resources, a cardiac specialist like Dr. Popat can perform several tests for diagnosis, including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, or chest X-ray. In some cases, a patient may be required to wear a portable device that monitors their heart rhythm for as long as 24 hours for accurate diagnosis.
Treating Atrial Fibrillation
After a thorough assessment of the condition of the heart, a cardiac specialist will then determine the most appropriate course of action to take in order to effectively treat the patient. Some patients may require:
An electrical cardioversion (electrical shock to the heart) to reset the heart’s rhythm
A catheter or another procedure to control atrial fibrillation
Medications to prevent further issues of atrial fibrillation
As a nutrition-focused cardiologist, Dr. Popat is a patient advocate that routinely implements several health and wellness goals into his patient’s treatment plan. This includes encouraging patients to adopt a plant-based diet, increase their exercise and physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits.
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