Doctor insights on:
Can Atrial Fibrillation Be Psychosomatic
No: Atrial fibrillation is a specific rhythm abnormality caused by certain specific electrical changes in the upper chamber of the heart. This cannot be faked. However, the stress from certain psychological conditions can increase the likelihood that a patient goes into or experiences the symptoms of atrial fibrillation. ...Read more
"psychosomatic" refers to conditions which involve both body and mind, or when physical symptoms are exacerbated or caused by mental or emotional disturbances. Psychosomatic medicine is a branch of psychiatry devoted to medical science, education, and healthcare for people with comorbid psychiatric ...Read more
It can be: If afib is difficult to treat ie unable to convert patient to normal rythm or unable to slow rate down with medicines, or perhapse the patient can't tolerate the medications to treat the problem, a person can be disabled. Pts with pre existing heart problems may not tolerate afib as well. Ablation therapy is not always effective and some patients may need a pacemaker. Just depends on pt ...Read more
Only if…: Only if the atrial rate is conducted in a very rapid fashion to the lower chamber. Your heart has built-in protection to keep this from happening. However, patients with a condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White sometimes lack this protection and under the right circumstances can die as a result of atrial fibrillation. ...Read more
EKG /Physical exam: Different ways. Listening to the heart there is obvious irregular rhythm with irregular rate. The electrocardiogram is diagnostic. Some times atrial fibrillation may appeared transiently or paroxystically. A holter monitor or cardiac monitor could show the characteristic features of the EKG changes. ...Read more
It depends on: A number of factors. Most people will feel an irregular and skipping or racing sensation in their chest. If the heart rate is too fast or the heart is very weak, you may feel short of breath, weak or even chest pressure. Many people have atrial fibrillation with no obvious symptoms. ...Read more
It depends: Atrial fibrillation is an irregular rhythm in which the atria beat at nearly 400 beats/min. It is common in older patients as a reflection of aging of the conduction system. In younger patients it can be caused by alcohol and drug abuse. It can also occur when the heart dilates as in congestive heart failure. The abnormal contractions put patients at risk for blood clots which may cause strokes. ...Read more
Heart rate / stroke: Two issues with afib. The first is stroke. Afib is a risk for stroke, and thus all patients with afib need some sort of blood thinner. Whether that is an Aspirin or full anticoagulants such as Coumadin (warfarin) depends on your risks and your doctor will let you know that. The second is heart rate. If the afib is too fast or too slow, the rate will need to be treated also. ...Read more
Slow down the heart: Beta blockers and digoxin are often used first to slow down the heart when there is rapid heart rate of af. In some patients, electric shocks can be utilized to convert the irregular rate of af to normal. In most all cases, blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and new drugs like Pradaxa are utilized to reduce the risk of blood clots forming inside the heart and causing complications such as strokes. ...Read more
Electrocardiogram: If the atrial fibrillation is ongoing then an electrocardiogram will show it. If it only occurs from time to time, then there are different types of monitors that a patient can use at home to record the heart rhythm; this is another type of electrocardiogram sometimes referred to as an event recorder. ...Read more
Irregular: Atrial fibrillation occurs when the atria, which deliver blood to the ventricles, receive an abnormal electrical signal and then beat erratically instead of in a coordinated, strong beat. The danger of atrial fibrillation is that the blood in the atria tends to stay there instead of getting pumped fully into the ventricles. This slow moving blood in the atria can then form blood clots. ...Read more
Atrial fibrillation: You need to see a doc and verify if you have/had afib. Then some basic workup to see if the why can be elucidated. You may or may not need treatment but should be sure the decision is made from the proper information. ...Read more
It Varies: The most important treatment is stroke prevention, which is usually done by medications (aspirin or warfarin). Sometimes rate control medications are used, like metoprolol. If the af is severe enough, stronger anti-arrhythmic medications are used, like propafenone. If these do not work, catheter ablation may be recommended. Pacemaker and av-node ablation may be used as a last resort. ...Read more
See a specialist: It sounds like you need some help from a cardiac electrophysiologist. There are several world leading cardiac electrophysiologists in the neighborhood of palo alto, and I suggest you consult one of them. ...Read more
Generally, not: If there is no underlying cardiac problems that may predispose one to atrial fibrillation, it would be unusual for stress to be actual cause; however stress can be the underlying to so many maladies, that one never says never. If one develops atrial fib, must look for underlying heart disease, and--even it none is found-be treated for it by cardiologist specializing in cardiac rhythm disorders. ...Read more
Atrial fibrillation: Afib is a rapid irregular heart rhythm which can decrease heart efficiency as much as 20% in some patients. It can also be associated with clotting and clots travelling around the body to cause stroke or other problems. Some people have atrial fibrillation as their normal rhythm. Talk to your dr. About it if you have it. ...Read more
HTN, CAD, Hyperthyroi:
High blood pressure
heart defects you're born with (congenital)
an overactive thyroid gland or other metabolic imbalance
exposure to stimulants, such as medications, caffeine or tobacco, or to alcohol
sick sinus syndrome — functioning of the heart's natural pacemaker
emphysema or other lung diseases
previous heart surgery
stress due to pneumonia. ...Read more
Excess alcohol: Heavy drinking iver time can lead to cardiomyopathy as alcohol works as a myocardial suppressant but even in smaller but usually excessive quantities it can cause atrial fibrillation due to its dehydrating and electrolyte depleting effects. This is often referred to as "holiday heart". ...Read more
Clot formation: Because blood in the left atrium is not propelled forward normally during atiral fibrillation, it allows for the formation of clots. Small areas of blood pooling resembling little eddy currents allow blood to slow down and form clots. If one of these clots is then propelled forward it can travel to the brain, become lodged in a blood vessel and cause a stroke. A clot the size of a pinhead can do it. ...Read more
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