September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month

Joe Biden, George H.W. Bush, Barry Manilow.

What do these three men have in common?

And no, Barry Manilow has never been the president of the United States, so it can’t be that.

Based on the title of this article it shouldn’t be too tough to determine that these three people have all been diagnosed with—drumroll please—atrial fibrillation!

September happens to be Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, so we are going to do our part to shine a spotlight.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia.

An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, which means the heart is either beating too fast, too slow, or in any way considered abnormal. AFib specifically occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart, known as the atria, beat irregularly and out of sync with the two lower chambers of the heart, known as the ventricles.Elderly man wearing a white shirt with a blue towel around his shoulders, holding a heart and giving a thumbs up while staying fit with a walk in the woods.

2% of people in the United States younger than 65 years old have AFib compared to 9% of people over the age of 65.

Men are twice as likely to experience AFib than women. Like most health concerns, the older you get the more likely it could happen to you, regardless of how healthy you are. Other risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease, heart defects, or heart failure
  • Rheumatic heart disease or pericarditis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes or metabolic syndrome
  • Lung disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Family history of AFib

While age puts people at higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, the reality is that it can happen to anyone.

In fact, many suffering from AFib show no symptoms at all.

In that case, the diagnosis may come from a regular checkup where a doctor or healthcare provider listens to your heart and discerns an irregularity. Additional tests like an EKG will be necessary to determine the cause. When symptoms do occur, they include:

  • A rapid, pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

35% of people with AFib will have a stroke.

In addition to maintaining regular checkups to stay on top of your health, you definitely need to make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms associated with AFib.

When left untreated, AFib leads to the formation of blood clots in the heart. Blood clots can then break free and travel to the brain, resulting in a stroke.

You can effectively manage atrial fibrillation and continue to live a full life!

Although former President Bush passed away in 2018 after a long battle with vascular Parkinson’s disease, he successfully managed his AFib for more than 25 years. Similarly, Joe Biden was diagnosed back in 2006 and manages his AFib by decreasing caffeine and increasing his exercise. Barry Manilow, who still performs, works with his doctor to manage his symptoms and has done so for more than 15 years.

The Medical Group of New Jersey proudly provides diagnosis and treatment for atrial fibrillation in New Jersey. Give us a call or visit our website to schedule your appointment!