In the US, it’s estimated that 12.1 million people will have AFib in 2030. While that’s a very high number, most people don’t even know what this condition is!
“AFib” is short for “atrial fibrillation.”
What is atrial fibrillation? It’s a type of heart arrhythmia. This is where your heart beats either too slow, too fast, or in an irregular manner.
There are 3 main types of AFib that you should know about. Read on to learn more about them.
Paroxysmal AFib (PAF) is the least serious type when it comes to the kinds of AFib. This usually happens in the pulmonary veins located in the left upper chamber of your heart.
You’ll experience heart palpitations and irregular patterns on a random basis. This arrhythmia can last just a few minutes or it can be as long as a few days.
PAF actually has the most noticeable symptoms out of all 3 types of AFib. But symptoms go away on their own, without medical intervention or action on your part.
There’s a type of PAF called “holiday heart syndrome.” Basically, otherwise healthy and young people get this condition when they go on vacation. Holiday heart syndrome occurs because the heart isn’t used to excess alcohol, sleep deprivation, and added stress.
If you get holiday heart syndrome, you’ll typically return to normal within 24 hours.
Persistent AFib is also known as chronic AFib. If your atrial fibrillation symptoms last more than a week, and you need medical intervention to fix it (such as medication or surgery), then you have this type of AFib. Symptoms are the same, which include racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, fatigue, and dizziness.
Persistent AFib can resolve on its own. However, your doctor will usually step in to treat it so your heart doesn’t undergo unnecessary stress.
You might be prescribed beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers. Or your GP might even give your heart a small shock called cardioversion or catheter ablation.
Long-Standing Persistent AFib
Long-standing persistent AFib occurs when you have AFib signs for over a year and they haven’t been treatable. In this case, you’ll have agreed with your healthcare team to stop medication intervention, as the solutions have been unfruitful.
For those living with long-standing persistent AFib, quality of life can drop significantly. Living with frequent symptoms can increase stress and even bring on anxiety and depression. Not to mention, the symptoms can leave you feeling extremely fatigued.
If you’d like to learn more about AFib, then check out AFibMatters.org.
Know the Types of AFib
Now that you know the different types of AFib out there, you can potentially save a life, maybe even your own! So be on the lookout for symptoms and if you notice any, make an appointment with your doctor. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry!
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