Atrial fibrillation — more commonly known as Afib — is a rapid and irregular heartbeat. This condition can lead to heart failure, blood clots, and strokes. Currently, there are almost three million people in the United States living with Afib. The question is, just how long can you live with the condition?
In a long-term scenario, living with Afib can make you feel as if your heart is flip-flopping or skipping beats. Whether or not Afib shortens a person’s lifespan depends on whether or not he or she can get their heart rate and anticoagulation under control.
If controlled, then Afib doesn’t shorten a person’s lifespan. If these two things are not under control then Afib can shorten one’s lifespan. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that Afib is often found in patients that have other heart health issues, so Atrial fibrillation long term prognosis can have more to do with other heart disease and less to do with Afib.
Warning Signs of Afib
There is a myth that only older adults are affected by atrial fibrillation, but that’s actually not the case. It can occur at any age. In adults under the age of 5, every one out of 1,000 people has Afib.
When it comes to warning signs and symptoms, you may not have any at all. For some, you may not even notice anything. That’s due to the fact that if your heart is overall healthy, there is still plenty of blood being pumped through the heart by the lower chamber. (www.everydayhealth.com)
For others, there are some signs. You may notice some of the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
You may experience any number of these symptoms or none at all.
In many instances, Afib is detected during a routine physical exam or an EKG. If your doctor thinks there may be an issue, your doctor may have you wear a Holter monitor for one or two days. This monitor will record the electrical activity of your heart.
In addition, your physician may run a stress test, echocardiography, chest x-ray, or blood tests.
Can Afib be Prevented? How is Afib Treated?
No one can ensure that you will never develop Afib or suffer from the effects of the disease, however, your Atrial fibrillation life expectancy can increase if you follow some lifestyle guidelines.
You should avoid caffeine and other types of stimulants as they can trigger Afib symptoms. Salty and rich foods can cause issues for some with Afib and alcohol should be limited or eliminated, as well.
When it comes to how long you can live with Afib, it is a personal journey that depends on your lifestyle, overall heart health, and getting the right diagnoses, but there is information and help out there for you that will assist you in living the longest and most productive life possible.
Do you or someone you love live with Afib? What has been your experience with the condition? What are some of the things you do to manage it and live a healthy, happy life? Let us know in the comments below!