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Atrial fibrillation: 3 reasons to protect your heart health

Published On: Oct 08 2012 10:29:04 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 22 2012 10:43:54 AM CDT
heart health stethoscope bandage

iStock/gmutlu

(NewsUSA) - Health problems associated with atrial fibrillation (AFib) are increasing. According to the Atrial Fibrillation Association, approximately 2.5 million people living in the U.S. currently have AFib, the most common heart rhythm disorder.

AFib is an electrical problem that causes the atria (upper chambers of the heart) to beat in an irregular, erratic rhythm, resulting in insufficient blood-flow throughout the body. Sometimes the condition doesn't negatively impact a person at all. Other times, however, it can lead to serious and sometimes fatal health issues like heart attack or stroke.

Below, we unravel some of the most prevalent AFib statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and share ways you prevent the condition.

1. As many as 12 million people will have AFib by 2050.

To prevent Afib, promote heart health by avoiding risk factors associated with it. Risk factors include old age, high blood pressure, heavy alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, genetics, other abnormal heart conditions and other chronic medical conditions.

Keep your blood pressure down by consuming a healthy, vitamin-rich diet, staying active and not smoking. For sleep apnea, consult a doctor or polysomnography technician as a first step.

2. The median age for patients with AFib is 66.8 years (men) and 74.6 years (women).

Doctors have noted that atrial fibrillation seems to increase with age. That's why it's especially important to make healthy lifestyle choices and take better care of your heart sooner rather than later.

Becoming aware of health problems before they get worse can reduce the damage the body experiences. If caught early, conditions like stroke and heart attack caused by AFib are very treatable.

3. Atrial fibrillation increases risk of ischemic stroke by five times.

The CDC reports that AFib causes approximately 15 to 20 percent of all ischemic strokes. About 80 percent don't experience symptoms, so preventing, identifying or treating atrial fibrillation can have a huge impact on these numbers.

Since most strokes are asymptomatic, preventive health screenings that can identify the possibility of a stroke are beneficial. Spotting a debilitating stroke before it happens can benefit a person in more ways than one.

By implementing healthy habits in your daily routine, you can promote your own lifelong health and avoid becoming a statistic. Don't become another individual faced with the challenges of atrial fibrillation.