Dr. Sameer Satija, a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist at University Hospital and Medical Center, provides insight into frequently asked questions about Atrial Fibrillation — or AFib.
By Sharon Aron Baron
Every 39 seconds, someone somewhere in the US has a heart attack.
In 2019, cardiovascular disease was the leading global cause of death, accounting for approximately 18.6 million people, and continues to be the number one cause of death in the US.
February is American Heart Month, a time when the nation comes together to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage the need to adopt heart-healthy behaviors.
Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is a common arrhythmia — or abnormal heart rate experienced by people worldwide and those in our community and Dr. Sameer Satija, a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist, who practices at HCA East Florida Hospitals like Northwest Medical Center and University Hospital and Medical Center answers some of the most frequently asked questions.
Satija said AFib is partially an age-based phenomenon, and as the U.S. population gets older, we see a lot more of it, especially in South Florida.
“There is almost a one in 15 chance of having Atrial Fibrillation, and it can be associated with obesity, other heart conditions, valvular problems. You can even get it spontaneously – I have seen in it patients as young as 22 and as old as 102.”
Symptoms can vary depending on the patient and certain factors like genetics, age, etc. Younger patients will actually feel heart palpitations. On the other hand, older patients tend to feel tired, short of breath, and lethargic and usually do not feel the actual palpitation.
AFib can typically be diagnosed off of an EKG – a quick and easy five-second test that any primary care physician, cardiologist, or emergency room clinician can do. However, an EKG only provides a snapshot and identifies AFib during the time in which the test is taken.
“It doesn’t tell you if you had it earlier in the week, a month ago or two years ago,” said Satija. “Even if you had a normal EKG with your doctor, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the disease. It means you didn’t have it when it was recorded.”
Dr. Satija said the biggest problem with AFib is that it causes strokes. Those who are older have diabetes or high blood pressure. Females are at greater risk. Controlling the disease and certain blood thinners can help to reduce the risk of stroke.
To help protect your heart, it is important to adopt-heart healthy behaviors. Untreated sleep apnea, obesity, alcohol, and bad nutrition all play a role in your heart health. It is important to see your physician or cardiologist and monitor your heart health regularly.
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- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.
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