Your heart pumps blood regularly throughout the day at a specific rhythm. When this rhythm is disturbed because of atrial fibrillation, a cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates in Greenbelt, Maryland, can help your heart find its normal, healthy, stable heartbeat. Don’t let your heart chambers beat disjointedly. Book online or call the office today to schedule an appointment with an expert cardiologist.

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What is atrial fibrillation?

When your heart pumps blood throughout your body, it does so following a specific set of contractions and releases. Various cells in your heart control the speed and rhythm of these contractions and, in that process, regulate the health of your organs and the preservation of your cognitive function.

Atrial fibrillation, otherwise known as AFib, refers to when the two upper chambers—or atria—of your heart don’t beat synchronously. With AFib, the atria beat so that the heart cannot adjust and deliver the necessary amount of oxygen and nutrients to your body.

What are the different types of atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation can manifest itself in four main different ways, each with its own set of symptoms and consequences:

Paroxysmal fibrillation

Paroxysmal fibrillation occurs when your heart returns to its normal heartbeat within seven days of the first symptoms. When paroxysmal fibrillation occurs, you may be exhibiting the beginnings of a more chronic AFib.

Persistent AFib

When your heartbeat remains irregular for more than seven days, you may be experiencing a persistent AFib. Your cardiologist can recommend a wide range of treatment options to restore your heartbeat’s regular rhythm.

Long-standing AFib

As the name suggests, long-standing AFib refers to when your arrhythmia continues for more than 12 months. With this type of AFib, you require ongoing care and treatment to manage its potential consequences on your health.

Permanent AFib

When your heart can’t return to a normal regular rhythm, your cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates can recommend the best long-term treatment to manage and live with permanent AFib.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

There are many potential causes of atrial fibrillation. Maryland Cardiology Associates can help you monitor your chances of entering atrial fibrillation if you have or are experiencing any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung disease
  • Heart injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Lung disease
  • Viral infections
  • Improper functioning of the heart’s organic pacemaker
  • Overuse of stimulants, like caffeine or medication

Get in touch with Maryland Cardiology Associates if you have identified any of the above potential causes, and jumpstart your preventive plan.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation doesn’t always come with symptoms. When it does, however, you may experience:

  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

If you experience continued chest pain or pressure, call 911 immediately, as this could be the sign of a heart attack.

How do you treat AFib?

Treatment for AFib depends on the type your cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates has diagnosed you with.

To determine whether AFib affects you, your cardiologist might recommend an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or a stress test. Depending on the test results, they suggest an appropriate treatment.

Your cardiologist can recommend medication to treat potential AFib-related blood clots and prevent future strokes.

They may also recommend non-surgical treatment, including electrical cardioversion, which resets your heartbeat through electrical shocks delivered to the outside of your chest.

Get in touch with a skilled cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates through the online booking tool or by phone today to make an appointment.