Atrial Fibrillation – Causes And Treatments

Atrial fibrillation refers to an irregular (almost fluttering) heart rate (afib). The heart normally functions through the sending of multiple electrical impulses: the atria and the ventricles send and receive impulses. In a heart that is beating irregularly, though, the chambers of the heart simultaneously, resulting in a chaotic and unusual carrying out of the heart’s functions.

Causes Of Atrial Fibrillation

The fact that you may have afib does not necessarily and automatically mean that you have a heart problem. In fact, a lot of young people experience atrial fibrillation without having had any history or present references to heart issues. Some of the causes (that do not directly trace back to a malfunctioning heart) of atrial fibrillation are as follows:

1. Excessive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Atrial fibrillation may be caused by the over-excessive amounts of the hormone called thyroid in the body. Hyperthyroidism can mean a lot of problems for a person, aside from irregularly speeding up your heartbeat. These include increased rates of heart problems, problems during pregnancy and bone loss.

2. Holiday heart. A holiday heart refers to a susceptible heart that may experience atrial fibrillation when triggers stimulate it. Alcohol and caffeine are some of the most common examples of triggers that would lead to a fast-paced heart, especially when they are consumed too much.

3. Pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is also called a blood clot in the lung. It is a condition that results in the death of a certain part of the lung because blood can’t travel to and from it successfully.

4. Pneumonia. Another cause of afib, pneumonia may cause the electrical impulses in the heart to get mixed up when the bacteria, virus, fungi or parasites that caused the inflammation of the lung reaches the heart.

Atrial fibrillation may also be a by-product of an already existing cardiac condition. They include:

1. Heart valve disease. This condition can be predetermined by your genes, or it may be something that you develop due to an infection. Either way, this can lead to atrial fibrillation.

2. Coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease develops due to the deposits of fat inside the arteries. These fat deposits block the arteries or narrows the arteries down.

3. Pericarditis. This refers to the inflammation of the sac that is surrounding the heart. This also promotes atrial fibrillation.

Treatment For Atrial Fibrillation

There are three primary goals that all treatment plans for afib aim to achieve: to slow down the heart rate, first, then to normalize the rhythm of the heart, and third, to prevent the possibility of a stroke.

To achieve the first, medical professionals normally issue oral medicines and they also recommend IV transfusions. If the case is severe, IV transfusions are used. If it is not, however, oral medications may do.

When it comes to managing the normal heart rhythms, again, careful attention is served to the severity of the person’s case. Medication may or may not be prescribed.

If a person already has a medical condition that may increase the chances of a stroke, especially when afib is experienced, blood-thinning medications like heparin, warfarin or aspirin are used.