Sorry Portland, but while a fluttering heart could mean you’ve found your soulmate at long last, it might be a warning sign for a serious heart condition.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat that can indicate malfunction in the heart’s “electrical” system. It is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), affecting more than 2.7 million Americans.
The risk for AFib increases as people age and is more common among people who have high blood pressure, who are obese, or have other types of heart disease. It is more likely to occur as we get older, affecting nine percent of people 65 and older.
“AFib is not life threatening when it’s well managed, but if it goes untreated it could lead to stroke or heart failure. That’s why it is essential to make the diagnosis early,” says Dr. Fawaz Alhumaid, a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at Adventist Health’s Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular. “The challenging part is doing just that, as AFib symptoms can be quiet and subtle in some patients. Warning signs include palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue and lightheadedness.”