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Everyday Compassion Blog

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation’s Common Symptoms & Helpful Lifestyle changes

A senior woman making a heart symbol with her hands

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) may be considered common, but it remains a mystery for many. As we recognize AFib Awareness Month, we will take a look at what Afib is, its symptoms and the lifestyle changes that can help make a difference.

What is AFib?

Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder characterized by irregular and often rapid heartbeats. The heart’s upper chambers (atria) beat chaotically and out of sync with the lower chambers (ventricles), potentially leading to complications such as blood clots, stroke, heart failure and fatigue.

What are some common Symptoms?

AFib can appear differently in individuals, making it essential to be vigilant about potential symptoms:

  • Irregular Heartbeat: Heart palpitations or a sensation of fluttering in the chest
  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak even with minimal exertion
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activities
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Feeling faint or dizzy, sometimes leading to fainting spells
  • Chest Discomfort: Pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest

What are some helpful Lifestyle Changes?

Empowering yourself with healthy habits can greatly impact AFib management:

  • Diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
  • Exercise: Engage in regular, moderate exercise after consulting your health care provider.
  • Managing Stress: Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga.
  • Limiting stimulants: Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can trigger AFib episodes.
  • Hydration: Maintain proper hydration to support heart function.
  • Appropriate Medications: Follow your doctor’s instructions and take prescribed medications as directed.
  • Routine Check Ups: Attend regular appointments to monitor your heart health.

This AFib Awareness Month, we’re shedding light on this common, yet often misunderstood heart condition. By learning about its symptoms, available treatments and the positive impact of lifestyle changes, we can collectively make a difference in the lives of individuals living with AFib.

Together, we can pave the way towards better understanding and improved outcomes.