You may feel weak or tired all the time if your heart isn’t pumping properly. Atrial fibrillation is the condition that sends mixed messages to your heart, causing it to misfire or beat irregularly. If any of this feels familiar to you, come into the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center to see one of the best cardiologists in NYC. You need an accurate assessment before you can get proper treatment.
Heart rhythm problems are relatively common, since many disorders can contribute to the condition. The most common heart issue is called atrial fibrillation or AF. Either due to a change in your heart’s tissue or a disruption in the electrical signals, an irregular and often rapid heartbeat occurs.
Although continual disruption can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart failure or other cardiovascular conditions, most treatments by an atrial fibrillation specialist produce good results. You can find an atrial fibrillation specialist at the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center.
Symptoms That Lead to Atrial Fibrillation Treatment
Your heart consists of four chambers: two upper and two lower. When the upper two chambers beat out of rhythm from the lower two chambers, your blood can’t flow properly into the heart or throughout the rest of the body. Symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitations or a feeling of a racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and weakness
- Reduced ability to exercise normally
- Chest pain
- Hypotension or lowered blood pressure
Some individuals have AF and yet experience no symptoms. These people are often surprised at learning their diagnosis. But atrial fibrillation is a dangerous condition even without external symptoms.
Causes and Risk Factors of AF
Several conditions and lifestyle choices contribute to your risk of atrial fibrillation. The older you are, the greater the likelihood that you may experience heart rhythm problems of some type. Other risk factors include having underlying heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, a family history of AF, experiencing high stress, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol or using illegal drugs. Caucasians also seem to have a higher risk than other races and ethnicities.
There are many underlying conditions beside heart disease that can contribute to heart rhythm problems as well. Your atrial fibrillation specialist — like one of the best cardiologists in NYC — may recommend testing, monitoring and treatment If you suffer from:
- A history of heart attacks
- Abnormal heart valves
- An overactive thyroid gland
- Lung disease
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Previous heart surgery
- Stress due to illness or surgery
- Viral infections
- Sleep apnea
- Exposure to excessive amounts of stimulants, such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol and even some medications
If testing turns up any of these conditions, you may need treatment. Successful atrial fibrillation treatment must address any underlying conditions, as well as the AF symptoms you’re experiencing, to provide the most effective outcome.
Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation
Your atrial fibrillation specialist has an arsenal of effective tests to assess your AF, determine any underlying causes and diagnosis which stage you may be experiencing. Atrial fibrillation has four distinct stages of progression that determines the treatment you need:
- Occasional or parosysmal. Your symptoms may come and go, or you may not feel any at all.
- You experience your symptoms most of the time. You may require electrical shock treatments or medications to return your heart to its normal rhythm.
- Long-standing persistent. If your persistent symptoms continue for longer than twelve months, your condition is considered long-standing. You need to seek treatment by this stage.
- Due to damage or other underlying conditions, your atrial fibrillation specialist determines your symptoms will be ongoing and incurable. Your only option is to control the symptoms with continuous medications and monitoring.
Your cardiologist doctor may request many tests to determine the extent and underlying cause of your heart rhythm problems. Electrocardiograms, Holter monitors, stress tests, echocardiograms, blood tests, event recorders and chest x-rays all give your atrial fibrillation specialist the most complete picture possible of the condition of your heart, the surrounding tissue and how well everything works together.
Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Options
The goal of treatment is to reset your heartbeat and keep its rhythm normal and smooth. Cardioversion may require electrical stimulation, medication or surgical procedures. If your rhythm can’t be maintained by medication, then you may require a surgical procedure such as:
- Catheter ablation. Best used for those with AF, but who otherwise have a normal heart muscle. With this procedure, certain areas that are causing the rapid fire of electrical signals are destroyed with electrodes. Normal heart rhythm returns without medication.
- Surgical maze procedure. This procedure has to be done during open heart surgery. Using strategically placed scars, your Manhattan cardiology surgeon is able to disrupt ineffective electrical signals.
- Atrioventricular node ablation. After destroying damaged and ineffective tissue between the upper and lower chambers of your heart, your atrial fibrillation specialist installs a pacemaker to regulate your heart rate.
The goals of your atrial fibrillation treatment include returning your heart rhythm to normal, maintaining the best heart rate and reintroducing you to your formerly active lifestyle. Finding methods to minimize damage to your organs and tissue, while helping you maintain a healthy daily life, is your NYC cardiologist’s ultimate goal. If you think you may have AFib, contact the team at New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. Do it today!
If you have any questions for the best in class Manhattan cardiologist or would like to schedule a consultation or appointment please feel free to contact Dr. Steven Reisman of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center and indicate which Manhattan office (Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, or Wall Street / Financial District) you would like to see the cardiologist for atrial fibrillation treatment consultation.