Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is a condition in which the heart sometimes beats in irregular ways.
It may beat too quickly or too slowly, or it may beat in an uneven manner. If your older family member has been diagnosed with Afib, family caregivers can be more effective and prepared by learning as much as possible about the condition. To get you started in gathering knowledge about Afib, here are 5 things you should know.
#1: Afib Increases the Risk for Other Problems
When Afib goes untreated, the risk of dying from a heart-related condition is doubled. There is also a 5 times greater risk of suffering a stroke. Because many people don’t take Afib seriously, it sometimes goes untreated. To help your older family member reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, help them to continue with treatment for Afib.
Elder care can assist with disease management by reminding the senior to take medications and driving them to appointments to monitor the condition.
#2: Afib Can Have Different Symptoms
In some cases, an older adult may not have any symptoms. Instead, Afib is discovered by a doctor during a visit for something else. However, many people can feel the difference in the way their heartbeats during an episode. Their symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitations that might be described as a racing heart, a flip-flopping feeling, fluttering, or pounding.
- A feeling of weakness.
- Feeling lightheaded.
- Short of breath.
- Chest pain.
Elder care providers can watch for symptoms of an Afib episode and call for emergency help if needed.
#3: Afib Affects Many People
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 2.7 million people in the United States with Afib. That means, your aging relative is not alone. Because having Afib can be emotionally distressing, older adults may benefit from attending support group meetings for people with serious diseases.
An elder care provider can drive your older family member to support group meetings and wait until they are ready to go home.
#4: Afib Can Lead to Stroke
Afib can lead to stroke because the irregular heartbeat can cause the heart to collect in the blood where it may clot. If a clot breaks off and travels to the brain, cutting off blood supply, a stroke may occur.
An elder care provider can watch for signs of a stroke and call 911 should they occur. The faster the senior receives medical treatment for stroke, the more likely they will have a successful outcome.
#5: Afib Can Cause Heart Failure
An irregularly beating heart can cause the heart muscles to become weaker. When this happens, it may not be capable of efficiently pumping blood throughout the body, which is heart failure.
If your aging relative develops heart failure, an elder care provider can assist them to manage the condition and live a more complete life despite the disease.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Beech Grove, IN, please call the caring staff at Home Services Unlimited. Serving Greater Indianapolis Area. Call for Immediate Info & Assistance: (317) 471-0760