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Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms
Atrial Fibrillation
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

A heart in atrial fibrillation doesn't beat efficiently. It may not be able to pump enough blood out to your body with each heartbeat. Most of the symptoms of AF are related to how fast the heart is beating. If medicines or age slow the heart rate, the effect of the irregular beats is minimized.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation
Some people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until it's discovered during a physical examination. Those who do have atrial fibrillation symptoms may experience:

  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • decreased blood pressure
  • light headedness
  • palpitations - sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flopping in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • weakness

Complications of atrial fibrillation
AF has two major complications-stroke and heart failure. Heart attack is another, rarer complication. Sometimes, atrial fibrillation can cause a blood clot to form in your heart. If this clot breaks off and travels to your brain, you might have a stroke.

  • stroke
  • heart failure

When to seek help
Not all heart palpitations are diagnosed as atrial fibrillation. However, a continuing feeling of heart fluttering in the chest together with a fast or slow pulse requires medical evaluation. Call for treatment within 24 hours if you:

  • are not experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, or fainting
  • are experiencing new symptoms such as fatigue or mild shortness of breath taking medications for AF and notice worsening symptoms
  • experience atrial fibrillation that comes and goes
  • have previously been evaluated and treated for AF

Call emergency medical services when atrial fibrillation occurs with any of the following:

  • chest pain
  • fainting or light headedness
  • severe shortness of breath
  • very rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • weakness

It's important to diagnose and treat symptoms of atrial fibrillation when you first notice them. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening. To learn more about how doctors diagnose atrial fibrillation, check out the next section on diagnosing atrial flutter now.

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Tags: atrial fibrillation symptoms, atrial flutter, irregular heartbeat, complications, heart failure, Heart Attack, medications, heart rate, treatment, symptoms, beating, fatigue, Stroke, brain, heart, AF, heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation treatment, atrial fibrillation flutter, atrial fibrillation stroke
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