Patients Heart failure
Topic of the discussion
Posted on 6/22/19 6:56 PM
There’s a strong link between atrial fibrillation and heart failure — having one increases your risk for the other.
The heart flutter of atrial fibrillation can lead to further complications — notably heart failure. The term “heart failure” describes a weakened heart that doesn’t pump well and isn’t keeping up with the blood supply that the body need. This causes fatigue and shortness of breath, which can make it very difficult to do everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
Here are nine important facts to know about atrial fibrillation and heart failure:
1. If you have atrial fibrillation, you could develop heart failure because your heart is working harder.
When you have atrial fibrillation, your heart is not beating normally. Instead of a strong regular beat, your heart quivers and beats irregularly and less effectively. Over time, this can wear out your heart, and your heart will get gradually larger and weaker and can start to fail. People with atrial fibrillation have a 3-fold risk for heart failure, according to a report published in the journal Circulation in December 2014.
2. Increased shortness of breath or fatigue and swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, or stomach may be symptoms of heart failure.
When your heart is in atrial fibrillation, you may or may not have symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include fatigue, palpitation, trouble breathing, confusion, and dizziness. If atrial fibrillation isn’t well controlled, blood flow can back up into the heart and lungs leading to heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include increasing trouble breathing, fatigue, and swelling due to fluid accumulating in your tissues.
3. High blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are risk factors for heart failure.
Examples of risk factors shared by both atrial fibrillation and heart failure are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart valve abnormalities, diabetes, older age, sleep apnea, and obesity. These shared risk factors help explain why having atrial fibrillation increases the risk for heart failure. Conversely, having heart failure increases the risk for atrial fibrillation.
4. Medications that help the heart beat more regularly may help control heart failure.
Medications used to slow down your heart when you have atrial fibrillation are called rate control medications. Those used to make your heart beat more regularly are called rhythm control medications. Both kinds may help control heart failure as well as atrial fibrillation symptoms because they make your heart beat more efficiently.
5. A surgical procedure called ablation may help prevent heart failure.
Several studies have found improvement in heart failure for people with atrial fibrillation when a procedure called catheter ablation is performed. Ablation involves threading a long, flexible tube called a catheter into the heart through a blood vessel in the leg or arm. Radio wave energy sent through the catheter destroys specific areas of the heart where abnormal heartbeats of atrial fibrillation start.
6. Even if atrial fibrillation is under control, there are still steps you can take to help prevent heart failure.
If you don’t have atrial fibrillation, or if your atrial fibrillation is well controlled, you can still develop heart failure. Other conditions including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes can also lead to heart failure. Work closely with your doctor to prevent or control these related health conditions and make healthy lifestyle choices that can help reduce your risk for heart failure.
7. Not smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
Not smoking cuts your risk for both atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The same is true for maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise. If you smoke, get help to quit. If you're overweight, work with your doctor to develop a weight-loss plan. Even short periods of physical activity are good for your heart and can reduce your risk for heart failure.
8. A heart-healthy diet may help lower the risk for heart failure.
A healthy diet for heart failure prevention should include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat proteins. Foods to avoid include high-fat foods, those that have added sugar, and refined grains such as white bread, rice, and pasta. These types of grains are digested faster, increase your sugar load, and are less heart-healthy.
9. Avoiding excess alcohol and salt can also help prevent heart failure.
Excessive alcohol use can trigger atrial fibrillation, and anything that triggers atrial fibrillation causes more stress on your heart. Drink alcohol in moderation to help protect your heart. A diet high in salt also stresses your heart because it causes more fluid to stay in your system. Limit salty foods and eliminate excess salt from your diet.
What did you think about these facts and tips?
Were you aware of any them? Do you follow any of the tips mentioned?