The Doctors: What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Everyone loves fast cars, but fast isn’t always a good thing. If your heart is racing it could be a sign of atrial fibrillation, which affects more than 2.7 million American’s and is a serious problem. NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip came by to talk to The Doctors about his experience with the condition. His mother actually had a stroke 25 years ago due to her irregular heartbeat and now she’s in a wheelchair and requires 24/7 care.
Atrial Fibrillation is a problem with the heart’s electrical conduction system. Your heart obviously needs to beat continuously. It usually beats steadily and regularly, but with atrial fibrillation, the smaller chambers of the heart, or the atriums, have a problem. They sort of have short circuits, which cause the heart to beat irregularly. Then it can cause the heart rate to get really fast. This chaotic heartbeat can actually lead to some pretty dire consequences.
The Doctors: Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms
So what are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation? You can get a sudden pounding, fluttering, and racing in your chest, dizziness, pain or difficulty breathing, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all. That’s the scarier part.
The condition increases the risk of stroke after age 60, so it’s important not to smoke and to limit your caffeine because these things can cause your heart to race. You can definitely live with the condition but it can also cause chronic fatigue, heart failure, and a stroke. Strokes, of course, can lead to debilitating problems you can never recover from. This is a huge problem.
Waltrip’s mom was always a health conscious person. They knew she had A-Fib, but not that it increased her chance of stroke. After that there were dietary restrictions and constant visits to the doctor.
The Doctors: Michael Waltrip My AFib Story Contest
September is National A-Fib Awareness Month, and Waltrip is doing something special for it. You can go to MyAfibstory.com and upload a photo, which could end up on his car during a race. For every photo that’s uploaded, Jansen is going to make a donation to the American Heart Association. They started taking photos already. Who knows? It could show up on a race car, which would be awesome.