What Does AFib Feel Like? | Life Line Screening

What Does AFib Feel Like?

AFib, or atrial fibrillation, is not the same for everyone. People can have different symptoms depending on a few different factors. If you think you may have AFib, this article can tell you more about what you may be experiencing.

There are three types of AFib

AFib is a progressive disease that can get worse over time if left untreated. Here are the three ways doctors classify AFib.

1. Paroxysmal AFib

Paroxysmal AFib is identified by distinct episodes of discomfort. Sometimes that can last several minutes, while other times it can last a few days. If you have this kind of AFib attack you will definitely notice. You may feel your heart palpitating or get the sensation that your heart is skipping a beat every now and then. This kind of AFib tends to be unpredictable.

Paroxysmal AFib can sometimes go away if you make the right lifestyle adjustments or get the right medication from your doctor. The key is to address it early so it does not get worse.

2. Persistent AFib

Paroxysmal AFib gets upgraded to persistent AFib when the symptoms last for more than a week. At that point, the heart most likely won't go back to a normal rhythm on its own. You'll most likely feel more prolonged versions of the same symptoms as well. Those with persistent AFib experience a racing heartbeat, dizziness, palpitations, weakness, and fatigue.

Since the heart is "stuck" in arrhythmia, doctors will have to do something to get it back to normal. This is usually done one of two ways. The first is through a minor electrical shock using paddles. The second is using certain drugs administered through an IV.

3. Chronic AFib

At this third and final stage, the AFib is irreversible. In chronic AFib, the treatments we mentioned above simply don't work. There is a procedure called a catheter ablation that cauterizes some electrical pathways to the heart, but even this is not guaranteed to fix the problem. In these cases, people either have continuous bouts of AFib symptoms or experience them all the time. The constant stress of feeling a heart arrhythmia can cause stress in and of itself, making things worse.

Universal symptoms

No matter what stage of AFib someone has, there is a group of symptoms they experience. The difference is in the level of severity and specific case. One person may have extreme dizzy spells while another may find themselves with acute chest pain. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should speak with your doctor.

  • dizziness
  • excessive or unexplained sweating
  • heart palpitations
  • fluttering in the chest
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • unexplained anxiety
  • fainting
  • chest pain

Not sure if you're at risk for (or already have) AFib? Get screened!

AFib can be asymptomatic until it progresses to a more severe stage. Many people have AFib and don't even realize it.

If you'd like to know where your health stands with regard to heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, Life Line Screening offers a simple, non-invasive test and lab-accurate results. Using an EKG monitor, a trained technician will read your heart signal for about 15 minutes and review your results with you right after the screening.

Scheduling an appointment is easy, with convenient locations all across the United States. Click below to find the Life Line Screening location closest to you.

Learn more or schedule a screening today at lifelinescreening.com — or give us a call at 888.852.8378. We'd love to help.

References

The Three Forms of AFib, AliveCor

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Causes, symptoms, and treatment, Medical News Today - 03/10/17

Persistant Atrial Fibrillation, Healthline

Catheter Ablation | NHLBI, NIH

"Many People Have Atrial Fibrillation but May Not Know It, SCNow - 08/31/19

This article has been reviewed by the Life Line Screening clinical team. You can learn more about this team of experts HERE.

Topics:

Atrial Fibrillation

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