Atrial Fibrillation: What are the symptoms?

Atrial Fibrillation: What are the symptoms? (file)

February is National Heart Month bringing awareness to the fact that approximately 84 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Many of those people go undiagnosed.

Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, we at KTVO want to keep you informed about important health and safety matters.

We believe it's our responsibility and privilege.

In this Sinclair Cares report, Alyson Courtney explains the common condition known as Atrial Fibrillation.

74-year-old Glenna Love and her husband Bob have been married for 34 years. They've always loved traveling the world together but two years ago, Glenna became very ill.

"I couldn't breathe, my heart was racing very fast. It felt irregular. We quit traveling, we quit doing everything. Basically my life stopped."

After being misdiagnosed by several doctors, then getting a pacemaker, Glenna was finally told she had Atrial Fibrillation.

Atrial Fibrillation is a common heart condition that causes an irregular heartbeat.

Glenna was referred to Dr. Hakan Paydak.

"It is very symptomatic for the patient, they feel miserable and eventually it might cause heart failure and weakening of the heart muscle."

Dr. Payday first prescribed medicine, then a surgical procedure known as an ablation that destroys the small area of heart tissue causing the irregular heartbeats.

Neither worked.

"So when she continued these symptoms and feeling miserable, I thought that we should offer her a second ablation procedure."

Dr. Waddah Maskoun was Glenna's surgeon and explains the surgery can be a lengthy procedure with major risks.

"Including from bleeding, injury to blood vessels, stroke, heart attack or even death."

Glenna was so sick, for her, the risk was worth it.

"It's probably the most miserable feeling that you could imagine."

After the procedure, Glenna said she immediately felt like a new woman, and can't wait to get back to gardening, writing and visiting new destinations with Bob.

"These two gentlemen gave me back my life."

According to the American Heart Association, there are at least 2.7 million Americans living with Atrial Fibrillation.

Risk factors include advanced age, high blood pressure, alcohol use or family history.

To lower the risk, doctors suggest you exercise regularly, eat a heart healthy diet, don't smoke, avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine and manage cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

If you think you could have Atrial Fibrillation, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

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