Atrial Fibrillation Complications
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If uncontrolled, atrial fibrillation can trigger: an inconsistent blood supply, chronic fatigue, stroke, and heart failure. So how these complications can be prevented.
Transcript: Atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an erratic and rapid heartbeat, can be effectively managed...
Atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an erratic and rapid heartbeat, can be effectively managed with medication, medical devices and lifestyle changes. And chances are you will be able to resume an active life once again. But if uncontrolled, atrial fibrillation can trigger: An inconsistent blood supply to the body and brain, Chronic fatigue, Stroke, and Heart failure. When an irregular, rapid heartbeat causes blood to pool in the atria or upper chambers of the heart a blood clot can form. If a clot enters the bloodstream, it can lodge in the brain, causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation makes you 3 to 5 times more likely to have a stroke than someone without the condition. High blood pressure, diabetes, and a history of heart failure or previous stroke, can also increase your risk. Heart failure is also a risk because irregular, rapid contractions weaken the heart muscle, so it no longer efficiently pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the feet, ankles and legs. But treatment can help you avoid these complications and even restore a normal heart rate. To learn about common atrial fibrillation treatments check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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Did you know there are a number of symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation? Watch this video and learn about atrial fibrillation symptoms.
Transcript: Have you been experiencing an irregular, rapid heartbeat - up to 350 to 600 beats a minute? If so,...
Have you been experiencing an irregular, rapid heartbeat - up to 350 to 600 beats a minute? If so, it may be atrial fibrillation - a disruption of heart rhythm that can deprive the body of oxygenated blood and may cause a stroke or heart attack. Aside from a rapid heartbeat, other common symptoms of this cardiac condition include: decreased blood pressure, shortness of breath and chest pains. Some people though, may have no symptoms. If your symptoms do send you to the doctor's -and they should -- he or she will ask about your medical history and sensations, and conduct tests to confirm that atrial fibrillation is the cause of your discomfort. If you have chest pain, however, don't go to the doctor, head for the ER. Tests to diagnose atrial fibrillation include: An electrocardiogram to measure electrical impulses of the heart. If there is a lull or a spike in these impulses, chances are atrial fibrillation is the cause. An echocardiogram, in which sound waves produce a video image of the heart in motion. These images show how blood is pumped through the heart, revealing any delays or increases, as well as any structural damage. If abnormalities are found, the doctor may suggest wearing a Holter monitor, a small device that records the heart's electrical activity, for a day or two as you go about your regular routine. Or an event recorder, which is similar to the Holter monitor but is worn for about a month and only records the heart's electrical activity when symptoms are present. Blood tests and chest X-rays are then typically administered to rule out other conditions. For example, a blood test can reveal that the symptoms are the result of thyroid disease and an X-ray can confirm various other heart and lung conditions. For those who may have no symptoms, the condition is typically uncovered during a routine visit to the doctor. For information on atrial fibrillation treatment options, check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-09 | Tags »
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Atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib, is an irregular and rapid heartbeat. It can be occasional or chronic. Watch this video to see what sets them apart.
Transcript: An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular...
An estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and sometimes rapid heartbeat-often with as many as 350 to 600 beats a minute. That's a lot higher than the norm of 60 to 100. Sometimes, however, it causes no noticeable symptoms, and is identified only through a routine physical exam. Some people only have occasional atrial fibrillation, also known as, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Their symptoms typically last a few minutes or hours, and eventually go away on their own. Chronic atrial fibrillation, on the other hand, is 24/7. Both types can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. And they greatly increase the risk for stroke and heart failure. Fortunately, this common cardiac condition is easily treated with medication, medical devices and lifestyle changes, and isn't usually life-threatening. To learn about common symptoms, causes and treatments, check out more videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot develops in the arteries leading to the brain. There are 2 main types. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: Ischemic strokes account for about 83 percent of cases. They occur when clots form within the arteries...
Ischemic strokes account for about 83 percent of cases. They occur when clots form within the arteries that supply blood to the head. The blockage of blood results in insufficient oxygen getting to that part of the brain. Ischemic strokes can be divided into two subtypes: embolic and thrombotic. An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot forms elsewhere in the body and a portion of the clot breaks off, traveling to the blood vessels of the brain. The clot continues its journey until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass. At this point, the clot gets lodged, blocking the blood vessel and causing an embolic stroke. Say the words "Richard Nixon," and "embolic stroke" is NOT what comes to mind-we're more likely to think of Vietnam and Watergate. But Nixon DID have a deadly embolic stroke, which occurred when a clot in his heart traveled to his brain. The other type of ischemic stroke, a thrombotic stroke, can also be deadly. In this stroke, blood flow is halted due to a local blood clot, known as a thrombus, which develops in an artery supplying blood to the brain.More »
Last Modified: 2014-06-09 | Tags »
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A hemorrhagic stroke isn't as common as an ischemic stroke, but it is just as, if not more, dangerous. Watch this to get details on how it occurs.
Transcript: A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain, compressing the brain...
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain, compressing the brain tissue. Hemorrhagic strokes can be intracerbral, which is more common, or subarachnoid. In an intracerbral hemorrhage, bleeding occurs from vessels within the brain itself. High blood pressure is the main cause of this type of hemorrhage.More »
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Certain risk factors for stroke are unavoidable. Watch this to learn what they are.
Transcript: After the age of 55, stroke risk doubles for every decade. Additionally, men are more likely to suffer...
After the age of 55, stroke risk doubles for every decade. Additionally, men are more likely to suffer from strokes. A family history of stroke means that you have a higher risk of having one yourself. In addition, if you've already suffered from a stroke or a transient ischemic attack, which is a reversible loss of neurological function, you have a 40 percent greater risk of having another stroke within 5 years. Another uncontrollable risk factor is race. African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to suffer from strokes.More »
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You can help reduce your risk of stroke by improving your lifestyle. Watch this to learn more about controllable risk factors.
Transcript: Having high blood pressure, which is defined as a reading of 140 over 90 or greater, increases stroke...
Having high blood pressure, which is defined as a reading of 140 over 90 or greater, increases stroke risk by 4 to 6 times. High blood pressure makes the heart pump harder. People with high blood pressure often have constricted arteries that make it harder to move blood through the body. This can lead to weakened blood vessels and, eventually, to hemorrhagic stroke. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance in the body that is made internally and is also found in the foods we eat. Some cholesterol is necessary for basic body functioning, but when levels rise above 200 milligrams per deciliter, which can lead to a stroke-causing blockage. People who are overweight are also stroke-candidates, because obesity can lead to hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Poor Lifestyle choices, too, can also increase stroke risk. Because smoking damages blood vessel walls, speeds up the clogging of arteries and raises blood pressure, smokers have double the risk of stroke. Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day, and men who consume more than two, also have increased storke risk.More »
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Making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of stroke. Check out this video for tips.
Transcript: Smokers have twice as much change of suffering a stroke, and quitting can significantly reduce that risk....
Smokers have twice as much change of suffering a stroke, and quitting can significantly reduce that risk. Similarly, controlling excess alcohol intake can reduce the likelihood of a stroke. For women, this means keeping consumption down to one drink daily and for men, two. Doing cardiovascular exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes five times a week, can reduce your weight and lower your cholesterol-two important factors in stroke prevention! A final, important lifestyle adjustment is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. The American Heart Association recommends these guidelines. Eat five to six servings of fruits, vegetables and grains daily. Enjoy fish at least twice a week. Choose fats and oils with 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving. And consume no more than 1 teaspoon of salt per day.More »
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Two medications are instrumental in reducing stroke risk. Watch this to learn about how anticoagulants and antiplatelets work.
Transcript: Two types of medication are particularly helpful in preventing strokes: antiplatelets and anticoagulants....
Two types of medication are particularly helpful in preventing strokes: antiplatelets and anticoagulants. Antiplatelets, like aspirin and Plavix, inhibit the production of the clotting agent thromboxane. Because thromboxane encourages clot-formation in the body, it can cause deadly build-ups in people with stroke-risk. Anticoagulants, like coumadin, also inhibit the body's ability to form clots, but they do so by interfering with Vitamin K. Because Vitamin K is essential to creating clotting proteins, this medication can help. Anticoagulants are prescribed for the condition known as atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat that causes blood build-up in the heart's chambers. This can lead to clotting and, eventually, strokes. If you have atrial fibrillation, your risk for a stroke is six-times greater than a non-sufferer. Therefore, it's important to work with your doctor to get the condition under control. As a last resort to prevent a stroke, your doctor may perform a surgical procedure called a carotid endarterectomy. During this procedure, fatty deposits are removed from one of the two major arteries in the neck which supply blood to the brain. This can reduce strokes in high-risk candidates by up to 80 percent.More »
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When a stroke occurs in one side of the brain, its effects are experienced on the other. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: Let's look at how a stroke in each of the different areas of the brain might affect a survivor. A stroke...
Let's look at how a stroke in each of the different areas of the brain might affect a survivor. A stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain often causes paralysis in the left side of the body. This is known as left hemiplegia. Right-hemisphere stroke survivors may have difficulty with spatial and perceptual abilities, resulting in trouble picking things up, misjudging distances, difficulty dressing, and falling down. Survivors of right-hemisphere strokes often have judgment difficulties. They often develop impulsive, dangerous habits, like driving a car when they do not have the spatial ability to do so. Right-hemisphere stroke survivors may also experience left-side neglect, causing them to ignore objects on their left. For example, a person with this condition might not eat food on the left half of their plate. Conversely, a stroke in the left hemisphere of the brain can cause paralysis in the right side of the body, or right hemiplegia. Survivors of left-hemisphic strokes may develop aphasia, a term used to describe difficulty with speaking or understanding language. Patients who have had a left-hemisphere stroke often develop a slow, cautious style of behavior. They may need frequent instruction and feedback on the most basic of tasksMore »
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People dealing with the effects of stroke should consider physical therapy and occupational therapy as a way to aid in recovery. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: Paralysis and spasticity lead to balance problems. In fact, 40 percent of stroke-survivors have a serious...
Paralysis and spasticity lead to balance problems. In fact, 40 percent of stroke-survivors have a serious fall in the year following their stroke, proper rehabilitation can prevent this. The goal of rehabilitation is to make the patient as independent as possible. Stroke survivors with mobility problems can work with a physical therapist to restore their walking ability, range of movement, and balance. Physical therapy is used to treat spasticity. A therapist will work daily with the patient, gently stretching tight muscles and repositioning body parts, in an effort to restore normal movement. Occupational therapy is another primary part of rehabilitation. It involves relearning skills necessary for everyday life, such as dressing, eating and using the bathroom.More »
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Spasticity is a common side effect of stroke. Thankfully, there are medications that can help. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: A group of drugs called benzodiazepines act on the GABA receptor in the central nervous system to relax...
A group of drugs called benzodiazepines act on the GABA receptor in the central nervous system to relax muscles and ease the effects of spasticity. Valium, or diazepam, and Klonopin, or clonazepam, are often recommended. Tizanidine, which is marketed under the name Zanaflex, works in the central nervous system to relax muscles. Tizanidine's effect is short-acting and should be saved for times when immediate relief is needed. Medications such as Dantrolene sodium and baclofen, are other options for easing the contractions, tightness and paralysis of muscles.More »
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