Better understanding the AFib treatment options available today
Millions and millions of Americans (and millions more all over the world) are going to have to contend with atrial fibrillation (AFib) each and every year – and the number is only steadily growing larger and larger as time goes on.
In fact, according to the American Journal of Medicine and the Harvard Medical School Journal and the independent studies that they have conducted between 2011 and 2015, the number of people struggling with heart conditions and heart arrhythmia issues brought on by atrial fibrillation continues to grow at an exponential rate – though AFib treatments are also improving as well.
If you, or someone that you care about, is suffering with AFib, it’s important to understand that there are a variety of different treatment options available that stand a very fine chance of succeeding. AFib solutions vary depending upon the specific issues at hand, but qualified medical professionals will be able to determine the appropriate solution to help people combat this condition while at the same time find ways to lead the kind of happy and healthy lifestyle that they deserve to.
Those interested in learning a bit more about how to treat atrial fibrillation are going to want to pay close attention to the inside information below. We’re going to touch a number of different AFib solutions that have proven to be tremendously effective, and we’ll also provide you with a bit of insight into which of these solutions may be most appropriate for a specific situation.
Remember that the information below is in no way, shape, or form supposed to be taken as medical advice or guidance. Only a qualified physician and medical expert that has actually had the opportunity to diagnose you and run significant testing will have the chance to offer appropriate advice that you would want to follow up on.
Before we get into the atrial fibrillation treatment solutions out there, it’s important that you understand the basics of what this condition is in the first place.
The most common type of heart arrhythmia, AFib is caused by electrical impulses in your heart that are anything but common or “normal”. When you enter AFib, a fibrillation (or quivering, shaking, or jolting) of your atria is going to occur, which may or may not cause more rapid beating in your ventricles. This is obviously not ideal as things can quickly spiral out of control from there, causing a number of serious problems to occur throughout your cardiovascular system, which is why it is so important to make sure that AFib is kept in check.
Complications can occur when AFib isn’t appropriately diagnosed or treated with the right solutions, and blood can begin to pull into your atria and may inevitably lead to strokes or other serious issues. It is of the utmost importance that your AFib condition is appropriately diagnosed as quickly as possible, especially if there are other underlying heart conditions (including congestive heart failure) that may need to be addressed as well.
The value of treatment for AFib
Though there are a variety of different treatment options out there specifically designed to combat AFib, the truth of the matter is that all of them are designed to do two different things – number one, they are supposed to reduce or completely eliminate all chances of having a stroke caused by AFib, and number two, they are supposed to restore your heart to a normal healthy beating rhythm and maintain that rhythm for the rest of your days.
Medication options available to treat AFib
Of all the different treatment solutions available, most people elect to take advantage of a variety of different prescription medicines that have been specifically designed to control and eliminate strokes that are produced by fibrillation.
Though some of these medicines are beta blockers (working to slow down your heart rate, sometimes considerably), some of the more popular options are calcium channel blockers that more effectively slow down the heart beat while at the same time improve the overall strength and contraction of your muscles.
Surgery is another AFib treatment option
In more serious cases, it may be necessary to “go under the knife” to clear up your atrial fibrillation.
This is especially true for people that do not respond well to prescription medications, and those that aren’t having any luck with other treatment options that we are going to illustrate below. Surgery usually involves the installation of a pacemaker to help regulate and correct your normal heartbeat, though these kinds of solutions should only be turned to as a last resort.
Anytime you talk about operating on the heart, you’re running the risk of serious complications later down the line – and most people just aren’t willing to take the risk unless absolutely necessary.
Blood thinning agents have proven to be effective at treating AFib
Though blood thinning agents aren’t exactly going to get right down to the root cause of AFib and clear up the issues, they are going to take an innovative and unique approach to eliminating the risks of AFib destroying your life by clearing out your cardiovascular system.
Due to the fact that strokes are the number one target of AFib solutions, it’s important to eliminate the potential for your blood to clot in the first place. Blood thinning agents are going to break up clots before they form major blockages, and they’re going to give you the opportunity to avoid serious complications brought on by AFib.
Restoration of your “sinus rhythm”
The restoration of your sinus rhythm has nothing whatsoever to do with your nose, but instead absolutely everything to do with the natural resting rhythm of your heartbeat. A variety of different medications work to target the muscles in your heart (relaxing or strengthening them, depending upon your specific situation), helping you to recover a natural heartbeat so that you don’t have to worry about AFib kicking in.
All of these medications are going to work to better control your natural heart rhythm, but they’re going to do so by impeding or expediting electrical signals sent to your heart.
Electrical cardioversion is an AFib solution as well
From time to time (usually in more severe and significant cases), your physician may recommend cardioversion for AFib as a solution to remedy the problems that you are contending with.
Cardioversion is going to be used when medications aren’t able to restore your natural rhythm of your heart on their own, and it works by sending a shock of electricity directly to your heart to “reset the clock”, so to speak. The only downside with this solution is that (while incredibly effective), it isn’t exactly a permanent solution, which is why it is usually tied into other treatment options as well.
Catheter ablation may be appropriate to combat AFib in your specific circumstance
One of the most risky solutions out there for AFib, this is another surgical intervention that is actually going to ruin and destroy just a miniscule amount of heart tissue directly on your heart so that a scar will form – preventing the abnormal electrical signals that cause atrial ablation from occurring in the first place.
Obviously, anytime you’re talking about intentionally scarring your heart, you are taking a couple of risks that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise, which is why it is so important to exhaust all other treatment for AFib options before you take the plunge.
Exercise can help you to eliminate AFib almost altogether
The overwhelming majority of Americans today are bleeding more and more sedentary lifestyles, and these sedentary lifestyles are wreaking absolute havoc on our bodies.
AFib and exercise go together about as well as oil and water, which is why you are definitely encouraged to (under your physicians watch), begin a rigorous exercise and training program to help reset your heart and protect against these regular and abnormal electrical shocks.
You aren’t going to want to jump right into the deep end of the role, so to speak, when it becomes time to start exercising and training to reduce AFib, but you are going to want to make sure that you are pushing yourself appropriately to banish this condition from your life forever.
At the end of the day, there are a variety of different AFib treatment options out there that should give you the kind of relief you’re looking for without ever putting your short or long term health in jeopardy. You’ll obviously want to speak with a trusted and highly qualified medical professional before you start up any treatment solutions, and it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion to ensure that you’re going down the right path.
The important thing to remember is that AFib can be controlled, managed, mitigated, and all but limited completely when you use the right treatment solutions. Hopefully, we’ve been able to shine a little bit of helpful light on the situation for you.