Friday, September 29, 2023

Atrial fibrillation: The importance of adherence to treatment

For many, atrial fibrillation manifests itself with symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain or loss of consciousness. However, in others, this heart disease may be asymptomatic, says Dr. Zuanette Ramos Robles, a cardiology specialist. With this in mind, the health expert stressed that people diagnosed with this condition must adhere to their respective medical treatments to avoid major risks such as the formation of blood clots.

Atrial fibrillation is a condition that consists of an irregular heartbeat in which the upper parts of the heart or atria contract in an unusual and rapid manner. This type of arrhythmia promotes the formation of blood clots within the walls of the heart and can travel to any part of the body. The formation of these blood clots can lead to health complications such as strokes.

To diagnose this condition, Ramos Robles pointed out that an electrocardiogram is generally performed when the patient presents symptoms of atrial fibrillation. “However, because it is a paroxysmal arrhythmia that comes and goes and is not always present, we may need a Holter monitor, which is a study that monitors the electrical activity of the heart over time.” said the scientist specialist explained.

Anyone can be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, but people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or obesity are at higher risk of developing the condition, Ramos Robles said.

He added that there are two aspects to treating this condition. “One thing will help us reduce the pulse and palpitations so they stay under control. The others are anticoagulants, which reduce the risk of blood clots forming, reaching the head and causing a stroke,” said Ramos Robles, who has a private practice at Cardio Health on Isla Verde.

Importance of adherence to treatment

The doctor also stressed that patients must adhere to the treatment prescribed by their doctor to avoid other complications such as the formation of blood clots. “That is why the patient must take all of his medications every day and attend follow-up appointments with the doctor to clarify whether the treatment is appropriate,” says the cardiologist. He added that patients with atrial fibrillation have a five times higher risk of stroke compared to the general population.

Ramos Robles also stressed the importance of patients with this condition seeing their doctor for follow-up visits. “Depending on the medications the patient needs to treat and prevent blood clots, there are some that require close monitoring to be equivalent, compared to other medications that do not require such early monitoring but have side effects such as bleeding “We have to see the patient frequently and make sure that the rhythm is controlled and that the anticoagulant is taking effect,” says the specialist.

Once atrial fibrillation is diagnosed, Ramos Robles mentioned that these patients need to make lifestyle changes. “30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day helps control blood pressure and lose weight. These are risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation. If you have sleep apnea, treat it because it is very difficult for us to control atrial fibrillation without using the sleep apnea machine to slow down everything that makes the heart beat faster. Avoid excess drinks such as coffee and energy drinks. And finally, you have to get enough sleep,” he emphasized.

Because the risk of atrial fibrillation increases in older people, it is important that they attend follow-up appointments and see their doctor.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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