What you should know about atrial fibrillation

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Created: 1/30/2023 4:47 am

Von: Yannick Hanke


Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. © Andrey Popov/imago

The heart beats and beats. The hollow organ can sometimes get out of sync. Then there is talk of a cardiac arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation is the most common.

Berlin – Figures that are quite surprising: According to the German Heart Foundation, up to two million people in Germany are affected by atrial fibrillation. When the heart no longer beats in rhythm and the cardiac arrhythmia shows up for the first time, many people perceive it as threatening. It is all the more important to address three fundamentally important facts about atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation as the most common cardiac arrhythmia: it often shows no symptoms

Sometimes atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, has no symptoms. According to the German Heart Foundation, this could be the case for every second person affected. In these people, the cardiac arrhythmia is then discovered by chance at best. This can happen, for example, when feeling the pulse, measuring blood pressure or through an ECG when visiting the doctor.

What is particularly tricky: This cardiac arrhythmia often occurs without any symptoms, especially in older people. According to the German Heart Foundation, around one in ten people over the age of 70 would be affected by atrial fibrillation. However, this does not always have to be expressed in symptoms.

Smartwatch can help detect atrial fibrillation

A smartwatch can actually help to identify the most common cardiac arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation. The so-called wearables, i.e. technologies that are worn on the body or on the head, have a reliable accuracy. The German Heart Foundation speaks of over 90 percent of cases in which they would recognize atrial fibrillation.

“However, the diagnosis of the recorded arrhythmia must always be confirmed by the specialist,” says Thomas Voigtländer, Chairman of the Heart Foundation. But: If the measurement data should give a suspicion of cardiac arrhythmia, then the smartwatches usually report. Then they advise you to get a medical check-up.

Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of a stroke – but it can be prevented

In fact, atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke. The explanation: due to false electrical stimuli, the auricles no longer contract in an orderly manner. They fibrillate, causing blood flow in the atria to decrease and blood to clot more easily. This promotes the formation of a blood clot.

This can get into the cerebral vessels. If it blocks a vessel there, the brain will no longer be supplied with vital oxygen. A stroke occurs.

Can this risk be reduced? Yes. Patients often take blood thinners to prevent it. And as is so often the case, lifestyle also plays a major role here. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and not smoking is already doing a lot to prevent a stroke.

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