CardiovasCular HealtH by mikesanye


									                                         An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy

             take control                    be proactive               Know your symptoms
             living a full life              Asking your doctor         What is atrial
             with angina                     about angioplasty          fibrillation?
                                                                                                 February 2012

CardiovasCular HealtH
Cardiovas              in honor oF
                      heart health

                        For heart
                      smart grocery

                                        a woman’s heart
Photo: Breck MacnaB

                                      How one mother turned a difficult diagnosis
                                           into a heart healthy life for her family
2 · FebruAry 2012                         An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy

Innovations in the field of cardiology have changed the
prognosis for many patients.
                                                                                                                                                                      We recoMMend

a heart-to-heart on health                                                                                                                                                                 Debbie liguori
                                                                                                                                                                                           Heart attack

                                                                                                                                                                                           survivor shares her
                                                                                                                                                                                           tips for managing

                                                                                Five million
                ichard Neuman                                                                                          burgers for healthier leaner food
                knew something                                                                                         which his wife, Waltraut, makes at                 pAge 8
                was wrong in
                1997 when he                                                    people live                            home.He is always aware of how his
                                                                                                                       body is feeling and his positive atti-

                                                                                with heart
                found he was                                                                                           tude is as important to his health
                too tired for golf,                                                                                    as his lifestyle changes. Working in

                a game he had                                                                                          partnership with his cardiologist
played avidly for 50 years. He                                                                                         and Waltraut, Neuman is enjoying               cardiovascular health, fifth
                                                                                                                                                                      edition, feBruary 2012
visited his doctor and received                                                                                        life,travel,and his golf game.
what once would have been a                                                    tion. A new class of drugs called          The American College of Cardiol-            publisher: elba flamenco
death sentence—a diagnosis             David holmes                            cholesterol ester, which transfer       ogy has established CardioSmart.               Business Developer: rebecca ramgren
                                       md, FACC, president, American College
of heart failure. Heart failure        of Cardiology                           protein inhibitors, shows great         org to help patients and their physi-
                                                                                                                                                                      Designer & editor: ariela anelli
means the heart is unable to                                                   promise in treating atheroscle-         cians work together to take control  
pump blood efficiently. Neuman        the future of medicine                   rosis, the thickening of arteries.      of their heart health. By visiting             managing Director: Justin Guttman
worked in partnership with his        Innovations in the field of cardiol-     Impressive advances in imaging,, patients and
cardiologist on a treatment plan      ogy have changed the prognosis for       human genomics, and cell therapy        those at risk for heart disease                contributors: american college of
                                                                                                                                                                      cardiology, anatoly langer, Bruce
that includes medication and          many patients. New treatments are        will help to both diagnose and          can find information on heart                  Wilkoff, cardiosmart, david holmes,
lifestyle changes that allowed        coming online every day and more         treat cardiovascular disease like       conditions, risk factors, diet and             heart rhythm society, kathy Berra,
                                                                                                                                                                      Petra canan and Womenheart
him to return to the links and an     are on the horizon. In addition,         never before. A new heart valve is      exercise, and calculate their
active life.                          heart teams in emergency rooms           inserted into the heart through an      BMI or track their blood pres-                 Distributed within:
                                                                                                                                                                      usa today, february 2012
   Neuman isn’t living with heart     are improving how they respond           artery,offering an option to patients   sure to see how they can stay                  this section was created by
failure alone; an estimated five      to heart attacks, and hospitals and      who are not healthy enough for          in the game.                                   Mediaplanet and did not involve usa
                                                                                                                                                                      today or its editorial departments.
million people in the U.S. suffer     cardiology practices participate in      open-heart surgery.
from this condition. He is also       registries that help to ensure they                                                 The content in this special section was
not alone in successfully manag-      offer their patients care based on       Working together                        not reviewed by Dr. Holmes or the ACC.
ing a heart condition that would      the best scientific data available.      Technology and the best-trained         Dr. Holmes and the ACC do not endorse
have killed him a short time ago.     These and other advances in cardi-       doctors in the world cannot do it       any of the advertisers appearing within
In the last decade, there has been    ology have combined to create this       all. Medicine is at its best when the   this special section or the companies men-
a 30 percent reduction in deaths      dramatic decrease in deaths from         patient is a partner with the phy-      tioned in the editorial sections. Dr. Holmes   folloW us on faceBook & tWitter!
in the United States due to cardio-   heart disease.                           sician in maintaining health and        received no compensation for writing this
vascular disease, including heart       This trend is sure to continue,        making treatments work. Richard         introduction.
                                                                                                                                                                      mediaplanet’s business is to create new
failure, heart attacks, clogged       even as the population ages, with        Neuman,now 83 years old,exercises                                                      customers for our advertisers by providing
arteries, atrial fibrillation and     exciting new therapies and pro-          and takes his medicine.He also gave                               DaviD holmes         readers with high quality editorial content
                                                                                                                                                                      that motivates them to act.
other conditions.                     cedures that seem like science fic-      up his almost daily fast food cheese-         
4 · FebruAry 2012                                                                       A todAy
                                          An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy


                                                                                                                                                                          making a
                                                                                                                                                                         salaD From
                                                                                                                                                                        scratch? BUy
                                                                                                                                                                          or salaD

                                                                                                                                            Helping others
                                                                                                                                                 Dawn’s story has influenced her to
                                                                                                                                                 become an advocate for education and
                                                                                                                                            awareness about heart health.As a national
                                                                                                                                            spokeswoman for WomenHeart: The
                                                                                                                                            National Coalition for Women with Heart
                                                                                                                                            Disease, the country’s only patient centered
                                                                                                                                            organization providing support to women
                                                                                                                                            heart disease survivors, she has found an
                                                                                                                                            outlet to reach other women like herself.
                                                                                                                                            Photo & editorial inset Photo: Breck MacnaB

Question: How can you prevent heart failure?
answer: Learn about your family history and talk to your doctor early on about risk factors and symptoms.

a mother’s intuition
               “you need
trustinG yourself                     the doctor take action to prevent                                           lasting changes                            horseback riding, and Dawn is
                                      any future cardiovascular issues.                                           Today, both are in good health,            working towards a master of arts
In the week following the birth
of her daughter, Lily, Dawn
                                         She said the feelings of frustra-
                                      tion and helplessness were “inde-
                                                                               to seek out                        sharing their experience and nutri-
                                                                                                                  tional advice with the whole family.
                                                                                                                                                             degree in Integrated Health and
Manogue of Connecticut knew           scribable,” as mother and daugh-            support.                        They encourage women to never                Dawn recommends open com-

                                                                                  this is a
something wasn’t right. She was       ter had to be quarantined during                                            ignore their instincts and seek out        munication with your doctor and
having trouble breathing, espe-       Lily’s initial recovery.                                                    multiple opinions. You know your           remaining informed about your
cially lying down, and her symp-
toms were progressing.
                                         “All I focused on was my baby
                                      and I wasn’t going to be well             long-term,                        body best.
                                                                                                                     “It is really fun to me,” said Lily,
                                                                                                                                                             own health and family history.
                                                                                                                                                             She insists it was her strong-
  Unfortunately, her concerns
were dismissed as new mother’s
                                      enough to take of her,” Dawn said.
                                                                                 emotional                        now 11. “I like giving out the mes-
                                                                                                                  sage to take care of your heart.”
                                                                                                                                                             willed nature and positive atti-
                                                                                                                                                             tude that led to her diagnosis,
anxiety by her doctor, so Dawn        recovering together                     commitment                             They consider their choles-                 recovery and subsequent

                                                                               to yourself.”
took charge and went to the emer-     With proper treatment,they healed                                           terol and avoid unnatural or                    lifestyle changes.
gency room.                           together, staying positive and find-                                        processed foods.                                    Be your own advocate:
  Diagnosed with Peripartum           ing answers and comfort through                                                “Try to exercise and take                     “Health is a relationship
Cardiomyopathy, Manogue had a         the support organization Women-        following diagnosis, one will not    care of your body,” Lily sug-                     with yourself,” she said.
grim prognosis when her three-        Heart.                                 recover,” said James D.Fett,MD,who   gests. “Listen to your                                “And it requires work.”
month-old daughter was taken             “You need to seek out sup-          worked with Dawn on developing       intuition.”
in for open heart surgery to repair   port. This is a long-term, emo- “Many PPCM           Lily admires her                                            To learn more, visit
her congenital heart defect.          tional commitment to yourself,”        mothers continue to improve—         mother for speaking                                 
   When a murmur was detected         she said.                              with proper treatment—dur-           out and taking care of
during Lily’s checkup, it was            “The ‘myth’ about PPCM is that if   ing the next six, 12 and 18          their family. She par-  -                                               Petra Canan
Dawn’s family history that made       one has not recovered by six months    to 24 months.”                       ticipates in sports like                            
                                         An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy                                                           FebruAry 2012 · 5


Patient-doctor dialogue crucial to
successFul warFarin treatment
                                                                                                                                                                    eating BeFore
                                                                                                                                                                      Will help
                                                                                                                                                                      With FooD
For patients undergoing              as atrial fibrillation, deep vein                                          about any new medications,           the impor-
treatment with anticoagu-            thrombosis, or who have suffered      “[patients] need                     supplements or changes in            tance of
                                                                                                                                                                    cravings, anD
                                                                                                                                                                    keep yoUr Bill
                                                                                                                                                                     loWer too!
lants to prevent blood clots,
maintaining an open, ongo-
                                     a previous stroke or heart attack.
                                                                              to see their                      your condition.                      m o n i t o r-
                                                                                                                                                     ing,” he said. “They also need to
ing relationship with their
physician ensures success-
                                     commitment to
                                                                                 doctor                         monitoring your treatment
                                                                                                                For some, monitoring their treat-
                                                                                                                                                     be educated with respect to prick-
                                                                                                                                                     ing their own finger in order to get
ful treatment and peace              While a patient is on warfa-              regularly.”                      ment from home is possible by        a small amount of blood.”
of mind.                             rin treatment, their physician                                             pricking their finger to check          While taking anticoagu-
                                     needs to routinely check their       son they need to be seen at least     their PT/INR, called Patient Self-   lants, the ACC also recom-
According to the American Col-       body’s response with the pro-        every month is that the effect of a   Testing (PST). Dr. Ezekowitz said    mends patients do their best
lege of Cardiology, anticoagulant    thrombin time test and Inter-        single dose of Coumadin is highly     these patients can then submit       to prevent injury and should
or warfarin treatments like Cou-     national Normalized Ratio            variable and that those need to       the results to their doctor for      wear a medical alert brace-
madin are intended for patients at   (PT/INR).                            be changed from time to time          review.                              let that states they are on
risk for a stroke.                     “They need to see their doc-       depending on the patient’s cir-         “These patients are usually        blood thinners.
   These medications slow the        tor regularly, at least every        cumstances, which are often not       patients that are well informed
process of blood clotting in indi-   month, for blood checks,” said       predictable.”                         about their condition, well                                 Petra Canan
viduals with conditions such         Dr. Michael Ezekowitz. “The rea-       Keep your doctor informed           informed about monitoring and           
6 · FebruAry 2012                        An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy


                                                                                                                                                                       ook or
                                                                                                                                                                      look For
                                                                                                                                                                    FooDs With
                                                                                                                                                                   healthy Fats,
                                                                                                                                                                       sUch as
                                                                                                                                                                   olive oil, Flax
                                                                                                                                                                    seeDs, anD

You are not alone
nearly 10 million people in
america have a heart con-
                                     ■ types of angina: stable and
                                     unstable                                 unstable                                  last,and how severe is it?
                                                                                                                           Some of the answers to these
                                                                                                                                                                  ■ make a plan
                                                                                                                                                                  Sit down with your doctor and
dition called angina, and
around 500,000 more will
                                     There are two major, more com-
                                     mon types of angina; stable and          angina could                              questions will help your doctor
                                                                                                                        determine what type of angina you
                                                                                                                                                                  come up with an emergency plan.
                                                                                                                                                                  Because angina can increase your
develop angina each year.            unstable. Each type has different
                                                                              be a sign of a                            have and how to treat it.                 risk for a heart attack, it’s impor-

Angina occurs when your heart
                                     symptoms and will require a dif-
                                     ferent type of treatment. Stable         heart attack
                                                                                                                        ■ living with the condition
                                                                                                                        We know that stable angina is not         no one can
does not get enough oxygen,
which results in a tightness,
                                     angina is the most common form.
                                     It occurs when your heart is not get-    large meal and then resolving in 5
                                                                                                                        a heart attack, but it does increase
                                                                                                                        your risk of having a heart attack.       say that living
pressure, burning or pain in the     ting enough oxygen. Stable angina        minutes with rest or medication.          No one can say that living with
                                                                                                                                                                  with angina is
                                                                                                                                                                  “easy” but it
chest and/or the neck, jaw, back,    can occur with regularity, almost        It is a much more dangerous form          angina is “easy” but it is possible.
shoulders, or arms. Sometimes        in a pattern, giving you the ability     of angina. Unstable angina could          After a few episodes of angina you’ll

                                                                                                                                                                  is possible
it’s a sense of unusual fatigue or   to predict when the discomfort or        be a sign that you are having a           have a better idea of the pattern,
shortness of breath. The discom-     pain will occur, how severe it will      heart attack.                             and a better idea of how to control
fort or pain from angina is often    be and what factors will trigger it.     ■ helping your doctor                     it but it doesn’t mean your work is
confused for indigestion.            The discomfort or pain will usually      help you                                  done. It’s important to continue          tant that you, your family and your
   Angina is not actually a          go away within a few minutes after       Doctors can’t predict the future,         monitoring any changes that may           friends know when and how to
disease; it is a symptom of          you’ve rested or taken medication        and they certainly cannot feel dis-       occur. If your angina symptoms            seek medical attention. Help them
coronary artery disease (CAD-        prescribed to you. Stable angina         comfort or pain for you. In order         start to occur more often, last lon-      understand the signs and symp-
blockages in the bigger arter-       symptoms do not mean that you are        to completely understand how to           ger, become more severe or don’t          toms of a heart attack and how to
ies in the heart) and coronary       having a heart attack, but it does       diagnose and treat your angina it’s       go away with rest or medicine then        use the medications your doctor has
microvascular disease (MVD-          let you know that you your heart is      important for you to track when you       your angina may be getting worse,         approved. Ensure that you are aware
blockages in the smaller arter-      not getting enough oxygen and that       have feelings of pain, discomfort, or     or becoming unstable. Have your           of the nearest hospital that has 24
ies in the heart). This means        you need to stop what you are doing,     other feelings that you know are          angina medicines readily available        hour emergency heart care. The most
that the underlying causes of        rest and take medication that your       your angina symptoms. If you are          and know how to take them. Make           important thing is to never underes-
angina are a result of blockages     doctor prescribed. Unstable angina       exercising and begin to feel a short-     sure that you are aware of your lim-      timate your heart condition. It is dif-
in the arteries of the heart;        is very different than this. Unsta-      ness of breath or discomfort in your      its for physical activity,and don’t go    ficult to tell whether you are having a
both the bigger arteries and         ble angina is usually much more          chest, make a note of it. Determine       over those limits. Eliminate stress       heart attack or experiencing unstable
the smaller arteries. Research       severe, can occur at any time, and       exactly what activity you are doing       in your life. Of course, that is easier   angina. If you have any doubt, call 911
suggests that smoking, high          can last for a longer time. It usually   that brings on the pain or discom-        said than done, but stresses, like        immediately.
amounts of fat and choles-           does not follow a specific pattern—      fort, as well as what relieves it. Tell   anger and worrying, can trigger              For more information about heart
terol in your blood, high blood      such as with exercise or eating a        your doctor what it feels like.           your angina as well. Always let your      disease, you can visit the Preventive
pressure and a high amount of                                                 ■■Is it heaviness, or tightness in        doctor or nurse know if your usual        Cardiovascular Nurses Association’s
sugar in the blood due to dia-
                                     stable angina                            your chest?                               angina symptoms are changing              website at

                                     is the most
betes or insulin resistance are                                               ■■Does it occur on a regular basis? If    in any way. Your doctor may want
all factors that contribute to                                                so,how often?                             to give you new medications for

                                     common form
blockages in your heart arteries                                              ■■Where are you feeling the dis-          angina or you may need some tests                                 Kathy Berra
and symptoms of angina.                                                       comfort, how long does it generally       to better evaluate your heart.                     edItorIAl@medIAplAnet.Com
8 · FebruAry 2012                            An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy


      Question & ansWer
                    kathy Berra
                    Cardiovascular       For angina Patients,
                                         the beat goes on
                    nurse practitioner                                                                                                                                                                     For a gooD
                                                                                                                                                                                                           soUrce oF
                                                                                                                                                                                                           sUgar anD
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Fats, eat nUts
                                                                                                                                                                                                           anD FrUits
                                                                                                                                                                                                         For yoUr Daily

■ What can you tell readers              ■■Question: What is the key
about quality of life related            to a healthy, active life after
to their angina?                         being diagnosed with angina,
      Individuals often don’t real-      a symptom of coronary artery
  !   ize how a symptomatic              disease?
problem like chronic angina can          ■■answer: by talking
affect their quality of life. All that   openly with your doctor and
said, I think it is important to         remaining in control of your
have this discussion—but it is a         heart health through diet and           staying in toUch
two way street.                          exercise, angina doesn’t have           Debbie liguori: “it is not like an ‘aha moment’, it happens very slowly, when you start to feel like yourself again.”
   Healthcare providers need to          to limit you.                           Photo: sPeak froM the heart

ask women and men about how                                                       “It is not like an ‘aha moment’,”              was always willing to address                     Dancing for health
they are feeling; are they enjoy-        Following her heart attack at age      she said. “It happens very slowly,               her concerns.                                     After losing eighty pounds, Liguori
ing their life, are there things         53 and subsequent diagnosis with       when you start to feel like yourself               Beckmann recommended                            is focused on losing the final 20
that they wish they could be             angina, Debbie Liguori of Long         again, that’s when you realize you               medication, along with diet                       pounds and continuing to progress
doing that they are not doing            Island, NY, struggled to accept her    have to start making the changes.It              and exercise to control her                       in her dancing, competing with
now? The answers to these                body’s new limitations, especially     just has to hit you.”                            angina and improve her quality                    her partner, Rodrigue, six to seven
questions can help guide medi-           when it came to her passion: ball-                                                      of life. Despite her weight clas-                 times annually.
cal therapies or other interven-         room dancing, which she started        the doctor-patient                               sifying her as obese, Liguori                        Above all, she knows that angina
tions to reduce the symptom              three years ago.                       dialogue                                         had always been active, and                       does not have to hold her back as
burden—hopefully resulting                  “I could see how people could get   Liguori believes a major com-                    was glad she could keep danc-                     long as she remains in control of her
in an improved quality of life.          depressed,” she said. “In the very     ponent of her success was her                    ing.                                              health, calling her experience “an
Understand that your health              beginning you think that is how        open, honest relationship with                     “You have to find something                     awakening.”
care provider is there for more          you will always be.”                   Cardiovascular Nurse Practi-                     you enjoy,” she said. “It can’t be                   “Be prepared when you see your
than just treating and cor-                 According to the National Heart     tioner Wendy Beckmann who                        something you are tortured to do.”                doctor—write down any questions
recting disease, they really are         Lung and Blood Institute, men and                                                                                                         or concerns,” Liguori said.“You have
                                                                                 stay in control to stay Well
interested in your life in general       women with certain risk factors like                                                                                                      to take responsibility, not just sit
and how you are feeling in terms         high cholesterol, being overweight     ■ Drink plenty of water and                       ■■ Watch your salt intake and                            and be told what to do.”
of quality of life, depression and       or diabetic are diagnosed equally      keep track of it.                                 avoid processed foods.                                      For tools to help you better com-
sleep. All of this knowledge will        with coronary artery disease, the      ■■ Find a form of exercise you                    ■■ know the symp-                                        municate with your Cardiovascu-
help guide their care.                   underlying cause of angina.            love and stick with it.                           toms of a heart                                          lar Healthcare Professional, visit
                                            Once the initial denial subsided,   ■■ keep a positive outlook and                    attack and how                                 
                      Kathy Berra        Liguori decided it was time to         pay attention to your mental and                  they differ for men                                                          Petra Canan
      take action.                           emotional health.                                 and women.                                               
                                                                                net      A todAy
                                           An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy                                                               FebruAry 2012 · 9


                                                                                                                                                                 don’t Miss!

                                                                                                                                                             help save a life
                                                                                                                                        cholesterol          Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

                                                                                                                                        heavy FooDs.
                                                                                                                                        try oatmeal          occurs when the heart stops
                                                                                                                                         For Break-
                                                                                                                                        Fast, to help        pumping because of a malfunc-
                                                                                                                                           loWer             tion in its “electrical system,”
                                                                                                                                                             resulting in an immediate halt
                                                                                                                                                             of blood flow to the body.Victims
                                                                                                                                                             lose consciousness almost at
When atherosclerosis                   arteries, which carry oxygen-rich     how severe your block-                                                          once, become unresponsive and
affects the coronary                   blood to your heart. When ath-        ages are, where they’re                                                         do not breathe normally (or at all).
arteries, the condition                erosclerosis affects the coronary     located, and other diseases you       concern you.                                 SCA claims more than 300,000
is called coronary artery              arteries, the condition is called     may have. Angioplasty is often          Although angioplasty can                lives each year. If someone near
disease (caD) and in                   coronary artery disease (CAD) and     used when there is less severe nar-   reduce the symptoms of coronary           you experiences SCA take these
this situation a coronary              in this situation a coronary angio-   rowing or blockage in your arter-     artery disease (CAD), it isn’t a cure     steps:
angioplasty may be                     plasty may be required as a way to    ies, and when the blockage can be     for CAD or the risk factors that          ■■Call 911 immediately.
required as a way to                   restore blood flow to the heart.      reached during the procedure.         lead to it. Making healthy lifestyle      ■■Begin CPR (hands-only CPR
restore blood flow to                                                                                              changes can help treat CAD and            appears to be just as effective as
the heart.                             ■ Who needs coronary angio-           ■ What to expect after coro-          maintain the good results from            CPR that includes breathing).
                                       plasty?                               nary angioplasty                      angioplasty.                              ■■If there is an automated exter-
Angioplasty is a process to re-open    When medicines and lifestyle          Most people recover from angio-         Talk with your doctor about             nal defibrillator at the scene, use
or enlarge blood vessels that are      changes, such as following a          plasty and return to work about       your risk factors for CAD and             it promptly. Ninety-five percent
closed or occluded. It may involve     healthy diet, quitting smoking,       one week after being sent home.       the lifestyle changes you’ll need         of SCA victims die because they
one of several techniques includ-      and getting more physical activ-      Your doctor will monitor your         to make.                                  do not receive defibrillation
ing expanding a small balloon          ity,don’t improve your CAD symp-      progress after you leave the hos-                                               within four to six minutes.
in the vessel, injecting agents to     toms, your doctor will talk to you    pital. During the follow up visit,       For some people, these changes may        Visit to learn
dissolve clots, or inserting a metal   about other treatment options.        your doctor will examine you,         be the only treatment needed. Visit       about the “Apples and Oranges”
device called a stent to keep the      These options include angioplasty     make changes to your medicines for more informa-         awareness campaign to help the
vessel open.                           and coronary artery bypass graft-     if needed, do any necessary tests,    tion about angioplasty, for tips on       public understand risks, symp-
  Atherosclerosis is a condition       ing (CABG), a type of open-heart      and check your overall recovery.      how to prepare for your visit with your   toms, and treatments for SCA.
in which a material called plaque      surgery. Your doctor will take into   Use this time to ask questions you    cardiologist, and more.
builds up on the inner walls of        account a number of factors when      may have about activities, medi-                                                         heart rhythm soCiety

the arteries. This can happen in       recommending the best proce-          cines, or lifestyle changes, or to                           CarDiosmart         

any artery, including the coronary     dure for you.These factors include    talk about any other issues that          
10 · FebruAry 2012                       An Independent supplement by medIAplAnet to usA todAy

                                                                                                               bruce l. wilkoff
                                                                                                                   Md, fhrs, ccds; President of the heart rhythm society
Must read
                                                                                                       Do you feel like there are fish flopping, thunder rumbling or
By the numbers                                                                                          drums pounding in your chest? if so, you may be one of the
■ Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the                                                                          2.6 million people in the united states suffering from a
most common heart rhythm                                                                                        serious heart condition called atrial fibrillation.
disturbance and it is estimated
                                       Medical insiGht
that one in four individuals
aged 40 will develop AF. AF
increases the risk of stroke by

                                      Know your facts about afib
five-fold and accounts for 15-20
percent of all strokes. The risk
of stroke in AF increases with
age: 1.5 percent in 50–59 year
olds and 23.5 percent in 80–89        atrial Fibrillation (aF or afib)   years will be diagnosed with       normal or changing between        failure and more
year olds. The risk of stroke is      is characterized by a rapid        Afib. Although it increases the    fast and slow                     ■■Thyroid disease
also increased by a number of         and irregular heartbeat            risk of stroke by 500 percent,     ■■Shortness of breath             ■■Chronic lung disease
risk factors, such as hyperten-       caused when the top cham-          many people know very little       ■■Heart palpitations (feel-       ■■Sleep apnea
sion, diabetes, prior history of      bers of the heart (the atria)      about Afib and just how seri-      ing like your heart is racing,    ■■Excessive alcohol or stimu-
a stroke, or history of cardio-       quiver (fibrillate) erratically,   ous it can be to one’s long-term   pounding or fluttering)           lant use
                                      sometimes faster than 200
vascular disease. Importantly,                                           health.                            ■■Trouble with everyday exer-     ■■Serious illness or infection
                                      times per minute.
AF is commonly asymptom-                                                   To combat this lack of knowl-    cises or activities                 If you think that you are
atic and therefore screening          The condition can severely         edge, the Heart Rhythm Society     ■■Pain, pressure, tightness or    experiencing symptoms of or
with an electrocardiogram             impact an individual’s qual-       has launched a national public     discomfort in your chest          may be at risk for developing
(ECG) in patients at risk for AF      ity of life, causing heart pal-    awareness campaign, “A-Fib         ■■Dizziness, light headedness     Afib, please talk to your physi-
is of critical importance. The        pitations, chronic fatigue and     Feels Like,” complete with         or fainting                       cian, who can also refer you
optimal way for screening             debilitating pain. Effective       a public service announce-         ■■An increased need to urinate    to an electrophysiologist (a
includes the use of ECG devices       treatment for AF returns the       ment to explain the symp-                                            cardiologist with specialized
that are capable of prolonged         heart to a normal rhythm or        toms, risks and treatments         Although a completely healthy     training to treat heart rhythm
or repeated monitoring as the         controls the heart rate, and       available to, ultimately, help     person with no other medical      disorders).
patient goes about their usual        prevents blood clots and stroke.   save lives.                        problems can develop Afib, the
daily activities. Early detec-          There are approximately                                             most common causes and risk          For more information about
tion of AF with ECG is the first      160,000 new Afib cases diag-       Generally, symptoms of             factors include:                  Afib and the Heart Rhythm
critical step in managing and         nosed each year. Moreover, as      Afib include:                      ■■Older than 60 years of age      S ociety’s  campaign,    visit
reducing the risk of stroke.          the population ages in the U.S.    ■■Feeling over-tired or a lack     ■■Diabetes              
                                      and other countries, projec-       of energy (the most common         ■■Heart problems, including
                anatoly langer        tions show that more than 5.6      symptom)                           high blood pressure, coronary                     BruCe l. WilKoff
   million adults in the next 40      ■■Pulse that is faster than        heart disease, congestive heart     

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