Despite being quite common, atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a very misunderstood condition, and many seniors and their caregivers are unaware of just how dangerous it can be. Here’s an overview of AFib.
What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Normally, the heart contracts and relaxes at a regular pace thanks to cells in the heart that produce electrical currents. It’s these electrical signals that are measured by an electrocardiogram (ECG) test. In atrial fibrillation, the two upper chambers of the heart fail to beat properly.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rhythm or rate of the heartbeat. An arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat irregularly, too fast, or too slow. AFib is a very serious condition that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of people who have strokes also have AFib, yet only 33 percent of people with AFib believe it’s a serious condition.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with AFib or is at risk for the condition, he or she may need assistance around the home. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional around-the-clock home care Leesburg, VA, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated around-the-clock caregiver.
What Causes AFib?
Despite understanding what happens during AFib, researchers are still unsure of the precise cause, although they do know there’s a genetic component because it usually runs in families. The biggest risk factor for atrial fibrillation is existing heart disease, including congestive heart failure and coronary heart disease. People who have lung problems such as asthma or emphysema and those with thyroid issues, high blood pressure, or diabetes are also at risk.
AFib can also occur in seniors who are otherwise healthy if they experience a great deal of fatigue or stress, exercise too hard, or consume too much alcohol or caffeine. Other causes include smoking, recreational drug use, some medications, and mineral deficiencies.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
AFib doesn’t always cause symptoms. When it does, they include:
- Shortness of breath
- Exhausting easily
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Thumping in the chest
- Pressure or pain in the chest
In some cases, atrial fibrillation may be corrected with an electric shock that changes the heartbeat. Certain medications, including antiarrhythmics and beta-blockers, can restore a normal heart rhythm. In cases that can’t be corrected with medication, pacemaker surgery may be necessary to regulate the heart rate.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care service. Leesburg families can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at 703-423-0783.
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