Atrial fibrillation, commonly referred to as AFib, is a heart condition that affects the heartbeat’s regularity and rhythm. When an individual experiences AFib, their heartbeat becomes erratic, irregular, and can even reach dangerously high rates. This condition affects millions of people every year and can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Here, we’ll dive into the details of what heart rate constitutes atrial fibrillation so you can get the facts on this important topic.
Understanding Atrial Fibrillation
AFib occurs when electrical signals in the heart become out of sync. These signals control how your heart beats by telling it when to contract and relax. In an individual experiencing AFib, these electrical signals start coming from different areas within the upper chambers of your heart , leading to an irregular or rapid heartbeat.
As a result of these changes in your body’s electrical system, blood flow throughout your body may be slower or disrupted altogether because both sides of your weakly contracting atria no longer work efficiently together. To make it worse patients with increasing age have more comorbidities due to which there are more chances for these patients going into non sinus regular rhythms; hence some measure should be taken at earliest suspicion itself.
Identifying Heart Rates With Atrial Fibrillation
- A normal resting heart rate for adults is around 60 – 100 beats per minute.
- While asleep it goes down up till inraregular ranges upto 50s
- Exercise routinely increases this range but also lowers rest bpm.
In individuals with no preexisting cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus, but diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation through ambulatory ECG monitoring, data shows about 86% episodes were shorter than two hours and 23% shorter than 10 minutes. ; and the most common responses to these high heart rates are not painful but rather a “fluttering” or “racing” feeling.
How amazing is it that your body has the ability to notify you when something’s not quite in sync?
For those diagnosed with AFib, their resting/lying “normal” heart rate should fall somewhere between 80-100bpm, while an individual experiencing an AFib episode, tachycardia might cause the pulse across different times reach a value as high as involved with hemodynamic effects which may require intervention by a cardiologist. That being said, Atrial fibrillation patients do not always experience symptoms; hence complete understanding of this condition irrespective of symptomatic benefits becomes important. Statistics show around one-third of people who have AFib don’t even know they’re affected!
Now you may be wondering why only a range has been given for where abnormal ranges start.
Well, everyone’s heart rate varies depending on age, hormones, fitness levels, and genetics. Thus here comes into play the software side. Researches exhibit how computer programs do fantastic job detecting atrial fibrillation through photoplethysmogram signals, which involve recording blood flow details from fingertips. Owlet NINOX uses PAT™ technology providing real time detection.
How Is Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosed?
Atrial fibrillation can be detected during routine doctor’s check-ups where an electrocardiogram is ordered; however, some doctors use Holter monitors–portable devices worn over time to get information on how your heart works while you’re going about your day-to-day activities. By scanning ewearable PGG devices, diagnosing and managing becomes even more accurate.
What Are The Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?
Not everyone with AFib experiences symptoms; however, some individuals may experience:
shortness of breath
How Is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?
There are several methods to treat atrial fibrillation. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. This includes losing weight, exercising regularly, reducing caffeine or alcohol consumption etc. , in addition to taking medications prescribed by your healthcare provider. Four classes have been devised for classification;
1)First-line rate control agents
2)Second-line pure rhythm control agents
3)Third-line combined agents, usually prescribed by an electrophysiologist/a cardiac specialist based upon comprehension of various guidelines issued worldwide.
4)Af anticoagulation_guidelines directed towards prevention of thromboembolism using CHA2DS2-VASc Score.
Can Atrial Fibrillation Lead To Complications?
AFib leads to a condition known as stasis where blood clots may form within the chamber itself. As such there can be increased incidence leading to strokes which are a major cause for long-term morbidity and mortality. Rarely it can also lead to work-related disability complications after interventions. Monitoring frequently and adhering treatments religiously will go a long way in preventing such issues arising.
In conclusion, if you’re experiencing any irregularities in your heartbeat–including racing/fluttering sensations or shivering/cold sweats–it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider so proper diagnosis & planning suitable interventions may occur in futile thereby leading life free from hemodynamic stressors including monitoring techniques like Owlet NINOX must be implemented. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.