Every year, hundreds of thousands of people have medical scares. Ranging from innocuous to life threatening, these scares are usually best directed to the nearest medical expert. As ignoring these scares can make conditions worse, having them checked out can provide peace of mind, if not at least the ability to make plans regarding your future.
A major cause of medical scares involves the heart. Taking it for granted can cause something to go wrong. The heart is crucial to the circulation of blood throughout the body. When even the smallest things start to go wrong with the heart, we notice. More often than not, fainting, dizziness, a racing heartbeat, and light-headedness can all be symptoms of something far worse. When you begin thinking that something may be wrong, then do yourself a favor and go see your doctor as soon as you can.
One potential concern raised by an irregular heartbeat is paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Lets take a moment to carefully review what this is, as well as atrial fibrillation. We will review the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this. In addition, we will consider new and exciting treatments, like Cryoablation, and see how they compare to established procedures. With any luck, you will leave this page with more information and a better understanding when you speak to your doctor.
What Is PAF?
There are three primary kinds of atrial fibrillation that exist in people. The first is PAF, the second is Persistent Atrial Fibrillation, and the third is Permanent Atrial Fibrillation. With PAF, your heart rate begins suddenly and then stops on its own. The faulty electrical signals are what creates PAF and they will stop on their own. The symptoms experienced by a person with PAF can range from severe to mild. In addition, PAF will usually stop within 24 hours. However, it can sometimes take up to a week. Compared to PAF, persistent atrial fibrillation is when the heart rate continues at an irregular beat for more then a week. In addition, permanent atrial fibrillation is when a normal heart rate cannot be restored. Both PAF and AF may become more frequent over time, eventually resulting in permanent atrial fibrillation. Whether it does or not, depends on an individual’s unique physiology.
During PAF, the two upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly. This means that they are not in coordination with the lower chambers of the heart. Though not uncommon, it is possible for people to experience short periods of PAF that will go on their own. Treatment is usually only suggested for those whose symptoms do not go away quickly. PAF is not normally considered life threatening. That being said, it can on rare occasion require medical assistance. Some of the worst things that may occur, thanks to PAF include blocked blood flow to different parts of the body.
Causes of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
There can be a range of causes for PAF. Some of the most frequent causes of PAF include having high blood pressure as well as heart attacks. Those who have a history of coronary heart disease will also be at an increased risk for having PAF. There is also abnormal heart valves, which can cause this irregular rhythm that defines AF as well as the paroxysmal nature of the disease. With this in mind, congenital heart defects will more than likely create atrial fibrillation, but it will usually be permanent in nature instead of a slow onset. Either way, it can increase your risk of developing PAF if you have other symptoms. In addition to problems from birth, an overactive thyroid gland can create problems, as well as a metabolic imbalance in your body. As a final note, stimulants can create PAF. Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco in particular have a history of creating PAF. While the risk is relatively low, it is still worth considering if you believe you are suffering from PAF.
There are several risk factors that may increase your chances of getting PAF. The most direct is having a previous history of PAF in the family. Obesity as well can play a role in increasing your chances of getting PAF. Age and having other chronic conditions can also make it much more likely to get PAF as well. The more of these you have, the greater the risk of getting PAF in your lifetime.
Many people who have PAF report having weakness. This can be felt as a weakness in any part of the body. A common example is being unable to lift as much as the arms. Another potential form of weakness is weakness all over the body and a general feeling of weakness. This can include a reduced ability to exercise as well as a generalized fatigue. A shortness of breath is also a possibility. Similar to being at high altitudes, if you are not acclimated, many people who have PAF reported having a challenging time catching their breath after any amount of exercise. In addition, some people had a general shortness of breath that they would have to wait to pass. Dizziness can also occur, as well as confusions. Chest pain is another thing you want to look out for as well. A final major symptom that people report having is heart palpitations. If you experience these symptoms and you have a concern regarding the potential of having PAF, then you should contact and talk to your doctor.
Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Options
Talk to your doctor regarding your possible PAF. If they believe it has merit as a potential problem, then they will usually request an EKG to help confirm. While a PAF is not usually life threatening, there are some things you will be at risk for. These include a stroke or heart failure. Generally speaking, the older you are, the greater the chance of these risks and the more likely your doctor will consider PAF as a potential cause.
Prior to showing up to the appointment, be sure to be aware of any restrictions you have to abide by. Sometimes, restrictions to your diet may need to be observed prior to the appointment. In addition, write down any symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as any questions you may have. Make sure that you have down your personal information and make a list of all medications you are currently on. Finally, consider taking a family member of friend along.
One of the typical ways that doctors help to deal with PAF is through the use of a pacemaker. The installation of a pacemaker usually involves two parts. The first part is the running of a wire through a vein in your back to your heart. The second operation usually involves placing the pace maker under the chest and hooking it to the wire. Done in a few hours, any person getting a pacemaker installed will usually have to stay the night for observation. In addition, you have to consider the eventual replacement of the battery for the pacemaker in 10 to 20 years time. With minimal complications, the pacemaker surgery is considered safe with a low chance of possible side effects.
The Use of Cryoablation For Afib
Cryoablation is also used as a way to get around the current heart procedures and more directly target those who are experiencing PAF. Simply put, the Cryoablation works by inserting a cryoballoon into the heart that is capable of freezing tissue and stopping unwanted electrical pulses that generally cause PAF. While this may not be effective for general atrial fibrillation, it is perfect for PAF if the origin of the signal can be found. This means being able to treat pulmonary veins, one of the primary sources for these electrical pulses in the body.
Like having a pacemaker installed, the Cryoablation technique carries its own benefits and risks. First, with Cryoablation, you will not need to have a pacemaker. This will solve a lot of hassle down the road and lead to less medical bills in regards to checkups. Cryoballoon ablation for atrial fibrillation means having a minor surgery that although safe, can still sometimes result in side effects. Some potential side effects include bleeding and bruising after the procedure, as well as infection. Despite this however, Cryoablation represents a different way of treating PAF more directly then a pacemaker, providing a more direct method of help to patients.
Having a medical scare can leave you anxious and worried. With that in mind, there are ways to treat PAF that can result in a far better standard of living for you. With a range of procedures including Cryoablation, you and your doctor can review your options and figure out what works for you and what you should do going forward. Along with making you more aware of what your options are, they will help leave you better informed. The end result will be a better standard of living for you with less worry for the future.