ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Atrial fibrillation, better known as AFIB, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia—irregular heartbeat when the heart beats too slowly or too fast. There are some factors that can increase your likelihood of developing the condition, such as obesity, diabetes, and age. However, it can happen to anyone so it’s important to know the signs of AFib.
Sixty-three-year-old Sandy Wilson is the Owner of Spirit of Dragon Flies—a mindfulness and life coach company. She enjoys being out in nature, exploring new sights and new heights. However, in 2017, a strange feeling made her favorite past time nearly impossible
“I do remember waking up in the morning and having my heart feel like I just ran a race and during the day, I would have little spells where I would get really tired,” Wilson said. These are all symptoms of AFIB.
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, those diagnosed with AFib have a five times greater risk of stroke than those who don’t. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as signs and symptoms:
- Sensations of a fast, fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
- Chest pain
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
“Which are really kind of general symptoms that could be a manifestation of lots of different things,” Dr. Bill Bachman, Cardiology Specialist at Albany Med, said. Dr. Bachman said there lies the problem. You might think nothing is wrong because AFib symptoms can point to several other health conditions, and sometimes the signs can come and go.
“Like when our car is making a funny noise and we bring it into the shop and it doesn’t make the funny noise,” Dr. Bachman said. “Make sure you tell your doctor, ‘It doesn’t occur all the time. I’m not feeling it right now.'”
Dr. Bachman added that If you feel like you’re having AFib symptoms, don’t wait to go to your closest urgent care and discuss getting an EKG as AFib can have serious consequences. And although age increases your risk, it can happen to anyone. “People can have it at a young age,” said Dr. Bachman, who himself had Afib. “I’ve had it twice. The first time when I was around 30.”
After three years of medication and an ablation procedure to help normalize her heart rate, Wilson is finally back on her regular trails. She said she was surprised to be diagnosed with AFib in the first place, because she lives such a healthy lifestyle. “My advice is: go,” Wilson said. Listen to your heart even you don’t think you’re susceptible. She added, “Don’t fool around with your health!”