Stroke Prevention as the Cornerstone of AFib Treatment

Download Patient Information Sheet

Stroke Prevention as the Cornerstone of AFib Treatment

How Can Afib Cause a Stroke?

The heart has four parts and a signal system that tells each part when to squeeze (contract) and when to relax. When you have AFib, your signals are disorganized, and make two of the heart parts shake instead of fully squeezing. Blood can pool in those parts of the heart and form a clot. A clot is clumped blood that becomes solid. Clots can break off from their original place and move through your bloodstream.

The path of blood from the heart goes to the brain where the clot can get stuck in a blood vessel and block it off. A blocked blood vessel in the brain can cause a stroke.

Blood thinners are medications that keep blood clots from forming or getting bigger. It is especially important that people who have a higher chance of AFib take blood thinners. Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners for you to prevent blood clots from forming in your vessels and lower your chance of getting a stroke.

You may not need a blood thinner medication right away, but as you get older and your health changes, you may need it in the future. It is important to continue talking to your doctor about the changes in your health every time you come for a visit.

1 out of every 4 strokes is due to AFib

 

A few blood thinner medications that you can take as a pill are available for patients with AFib. The plus is that taking blood thinners in the way your doctor prescribed can significantly lower your chance of stroke due to blood clots.

The minus of taking blood thinners is that they may also keep the good clots from forming. This can make you more likely to bruise or bleed too much. Your doctor will also explain how to tell whether your bleeding (like a nosebleed) is a normal side effect. Your  doctor may check your blood to keep track of how the blood thinners are working and might ask you to change some of your activities that can lead to injuries.

Each type of blood thinner, sometimes called anticoagulants, has its own pluses and minuses. Talk to your doctor about your worries. To make the choice that is right for you, ask your doctor to help you compare the problems a stroke can cause to problems from a bleed from a blood thinner.

5x stroke

 

Keep Exploring

Heart Rhythm Disorders
Millions of people experience irregular or abnormal heartbeats, called arrhythmias, at some point in their lives. Most of the time, they are harmless and happen in healthy people free of heart disease. However, some abnormal heart rhythms can be serious or even deadly. Having other types of heart disease can also increase the risk of arrhythmias.
Pediatrics and Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
This section is for pediatric patients and families living with heart rhythm disorders and heart rhythm disorders related to congenital heart disease (CHD).
Early Warning Signs
If you are experiencing a racing, pounding, rumbling or flopping feeling in your chest or if you have been fainting, having repeated dizzy spells, feeling lightheaded or you are extremely fatigued, it's time to see a doctor to discuss your heart health.
Common Treatments
Learning about the underlying cause of any heart rhythm disorder provides the basis for selecting the best treatment plan. Information and knowledge about care options, and their risks and benefits help you work with your health care provider to make the best choices.
Lifestyle
Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, lifestyle changes often are recommended. Living a “heart healthy” lifestyle can ease the symptoms experienced with heart rhythm disorders and other heart disorders, and can be beneficial to overall patient health.
The Normal Heart
The heart is a fist-sized muscle that pumps blood through the body 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without rest. The normal heart is made up of four parts: two atria on the top of the heart (right atrium and left atrium), and two ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle) which are the muscular chambers on the bottom of the heart that provide the major power to pump blood.