Atrial fibrillation can be a problem, Elizabeth Tracey reports


An arrhythmia is when your heart doesn’t beat normally. This can be a one time thing or happen more consistently, with either the top part of the heart, the atria, fluttering in what is called fibrillation, or it may also happen in the bottom part, the ventricles. Hugh Calkins, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Calkins: Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of sustained arrhythmia. And one of the most important cardiac arrhythmias. The atrium is going crazy with impulses swirling around at 600-800 beats a minute. Symptoms include fatigue, heart racing, lightheadedness, decreased exercise tolerance or you may not be feeling any symptoms at all. More common in men than in women but its common in both. By the time you’re 80 one in ten people have a-fib. It increases stroke risk, increases your chance of heart failure, increased dementia, mortality.  :31

Calkins says the condition can be managed, so talk with your doctor. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.