LITTLE ROCK, Ark — AFib. No, it's not a story you tell to get yourself out of trouble. It's the most common type of irregular heartbeat, and to understand it more fully, think Fourth of July.
How do fireworks explain an irregular heartbeat? Here's
“You take a bunch of firecrackers, light them, all of it at once, and have them in a small box. Imagine how they all fly around — that's how the electricity is going around in the in the top chamber,” CHI St. Vincent Cardiologist Dr. Raj Chakka said.
The top chamber of the heart accelerates chaotically and that's bad news for the bottom chamber.
“The bottom chamber is pumping irregular and faster,” Dr. Chakka said. “That's what people feel. People usually don't feel the top chamber palpitations. They feel the bottom chamber irregularity.”
When you have that, you feel palpitations, irregular heartbeats, anxiety sensation, shortness of breath, fatigue and tiredness.
Know those symptoms because the big concern is stroke and congestive heart failure.
“We don't have a cure yet, but we have pretty close to it,” Dr. Chakka said.
The success rate improves if doctors catch it early, and technology is helping.
“But in the future, that technology is going to do it,” he said. “I think the smart watches, and the smartphones are probably our biggest bet on catching it early.”
Know the causes, age, hypertension, sleep apnea, obesity, smoking. It's good to know the causes because prevention is really the best first thing to do.
“But the second stage is getting an early and the third stage would be treating it appropriately,” Dr. Chakka said.
Know these electrical problems, the ones that can affect the heart, are treatable.
Dr. Chakka is in this office, and with 20 years experience treating AFib, he is confident he can help.
“As long as they're in our door, and we have the one appropriate treatment, they do fine,” Dr. Chakka said.
Wear the gown and don't take fireworks to heart.