It makes for a good storyline on the big screen, but if your heart skips a beat in real life, there is cause for concern. If you feel like your heart jumps, skips a beat, races, or flutters, you may have atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation, sometimes referred to as AFib, occurs when your heart beats irregularly. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib, which can lead to life-threatening health problems, like blood clots, stroke, heart valve disease, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.
Diagnosing AFib is painless and only takes a few minutes. Several small electrodes are placed on your skin to measure and record your heart’s activity through an electrocardiogram (EKG). You must be experiencing an episode of AFib at the time of the EKG for it to be seen during the test. If your AFib episodes are infrequent, your doctor may have you wear an event monitor, which activates and tracks your heart activity when an episode occurs.
Your physician will consider your medical history and type of AFib, and then work with you to develop a treatment plan. Getting treatment and setting goals can save your life. Prescription medications, along with surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, are all available.