Atrial fibrillation, also known as “AFib,” is a common heart condition among the elderly. It happens when the upper two chambers of the heart, called atria, do not beat in rhythm with the ventricles, or lower two chambers of the heart. When this happens, the heart rate can become abnormally high, but the patient will still have poor blood circulation throughout the body. The most serious complication from atrial fibrillation is the formation of blood clots which can, in turn, lead to a stroke.
If your aging parent or loved one has been diagnosed with AFib or may be at risk for the condition and needs assistance around the home, learn more about at-home care in Milwaukee andread below to find out more about signs and symptoms, risk factors and the treatment options available.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of atrial fibrillation include breathlessness, heart palpitations and fatigue. Patients with this condition also report feeling light-headed or dizzy, confused, or will have pain or tightness in the chest. There may also be a drop in blood pressure.
Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include age (your risk increases as you get older) and a family history of this condition. If your loved one’s personal medical history includes elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, cardiac surgery, viral infections, emphysema or sleep apnea, then the risk for developing atrial fibrillation is even greater.
What to Do
If your elderly loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms or has any of the risk factors for AFib, you should consult your doctor. He or she will be able to determine if atrial fibrillation is the problem and come up with a plan of treatment for it. If your loved one is diagnosed, the most common medications to help treat this complaint are anti-arrhythmics likes Rhythmol or Cordarone (that help prevent an irregular heartbeat), blood thinners like Coumadin (to help prevent clotting) and digoxin (a medication to slow the heart rate).
Atrial fibrillation is a serious condition, so do not wait if you suspect your loved one may have it. Also, keep in mind that this condition is also very treatable with the proper combination of medication and lifestyle changes. For more information about heart healthy living, contact the Milwaukee home care experts at Home Care Assistance. Call 414-240-6094 to speak with a friendly Care Manager and schedule a free, no-risk consultation.