A Practical Guide to Prevent Atrial Fibrillation

Over 33 million people age 55+ around the globe have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib). This cardiovascular condition is one of the most common arrhythmias and is characterized by an irregular heart rhythm that begins in your heart’s upper chambers. Fortunately, there are preventative and reactive measures you can take to manage, control, and even resolve AFib.

In this brief article brought to you by Cardiovascular Specialists of York, we introduce you to AFib and share some tips on preventing, managing, and treating this common arrhythmia. If you’d rather consult with a licensed cardiologist, then call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule a convenient appointment or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible.

Understanding the science behind atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) happens when there’s an imbalance in the electrical signals in the heart’s atria, or upper chambers, causing a rapid and irregular heartbeat. Normally, the sinoatrial (SA) node, the heart’s natural pacemaker, generates electrical impulses that regulate a consistent heart rhythm. In AFib, these signals become chaotic, leading to an irregular and often rapid heartbeat.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

Several factors can contribute to the development of AFib. Major influences include:

  • Age: The risk of developing AFib increases with age, particularly in individuals over 55.
  • Heart Disease: Conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and valvular heart disease can predispose you to AFib.
  • High Blood Pressure: Hypertension can strain the heart and contribute to the development of AFib.
  • Other Medical Conditions: Diabetes, obesity, and hyperthyroidism can also increase the risk of AFib.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and high levels of stress can trigger AFib episodes.

Recognizing the symptoms and risks of atrial fibrillation.

AFib can manifest in various ways, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, and dizziness. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to serious complications.

AFib increases the risk of stroke because the irregular heart rhythm can cause blood to pool in the atria, leading to clot formation. If a clot travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke. Additionally, AFib can weaken the heart over time, leading to heart failure.

Preventative measures to avoid atrial fibrillation.

Taking proactive steps can help reduce the risk of developing AFib, or managing its symptoms if you have already been diagnosed. Focus on these preventative measures:

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Manage Stress
  • Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
  • Monitor and Manage Medical Conditions

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, engaging in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, and keeping conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism under control go a LONG way in protecting your heart.

Treatment options for atrial fibrillation.

Even if you have been diagnosed with AFib, there are solutions for managing and controlling the condition. Treatment aims to restore a normal heart rhythm, prevent blood clots, and manage symptoms.

A licensed heart doctor will have to evaluate your particular condition and tailor a treatment plan. Solutions range from the conservative, including medications and lifestyle adjustments, to more invasive options, such as a catheter ablation or surgical interventions.

Prioritize your heart health and consult with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive plan tailored to your needs. Residents in the area call Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule an appointment with a licensed cardiologist or arrange a walk-in for as soon as possible. Our team is ready to take your call or message today.


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Sylvia Savoie

Hanover, PA

My mom was seen by Dr. Gilbert. She was treated like a queen. Treated her with respect and dignity and took his time even going through writing the information down so she would have the paper. I can’t say enough and the staff at the Cardiovascular Specialist of York clinic was great and friendly.

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Joann Bernard

York, PA

Dr. Gilbert provided excellent service. Both personable and professional. Went above and beyond to provide detailed explanations that I could readily understand. I've never felt more comfortable and better served. If you need a cardiologist in town, I strongly recommend seeing Dr. Gilbert.

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Pennville, PA

Excellent experience. Dr. Gilbert gave me a wealth of information about taking good care of myself.  I went into this appointment a little worried but came out relieved after his clear explanation and valuable health tips. If you are looking for the best cardiologist in town look no further than Cardiovascular Specialists of York.

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