At least 2.7 million people in the U.S. are living with atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association. And because the risk of developing it increases with age and people are living longer, medical researchers predict the frequency will rise dramatically over the next few years.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Some people with atrial fibrillation don't notice any signs or symptoms. Those who do may have sensations of a fast, fluttering or pounding heartbeat; chest pain; dizziness or lightheadedness; and shortness of breath.
Treatment for atrial fibrillation depends on how long you've had it, your symptoms and the underlying cause of the heart rhythm problem. The goals of treatment are to reset the heart rhythm, control the heart rate and prevent blood clots that can lead to stroke. Treatment options can include medications, a therapy called cardioversion to reset the heart rhythm, and surgery or catheter procedures.
If you're living with atrial fibrillation, these healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the symptoms and risks of complications:
Connect with others talking about managing atrial fibrillation and living well in the Heart Rhythm Conditions support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online patient community moderated by Mayo Clinic.