What is atrial fibrillation or AFib? Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that affects 2-3 millions Americans. The normal range for a heart beat is between 60 to 100 beats per minute. With AFib, it can be as high as 100 to 175 beats per minute. This issue is caused when the sinus node in your heart sends out irregular signals that make the atria beat chaotically. The overall result is an irregular heartbeat with poor blood flow through the heart and out into the rest of the vascular system.
Some atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, trouble breathing, lowered blood pressure or sometimes dizziness. If you're experiencing chest tightness or pain, seek help immediately because it could be AFib or something else, like a heart attack.
While the condition is not life threatening, it can lead to serious problems if left untreated. In this video, Dr. Preeti Parikh explains the likely causes of this condition and how your doctor will test for it.
This video features Dr. Preeti Parikh. Preeti Parikh, MD, HealthiNation's chief medical editor, is a board-certified pediatrician with special interests in preventive medicine, advocacy, and patient education.
Reviewed November 2014-January 2015
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