The good news is that with the right treatment, you can live a good life with AFib. But you need to be in tune with your heart and body. If untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots, stroke and other heart-related problems, including heart failure.
Your treatment will likely depend on:
Treatment of AFib focuses on lifestyle changes and either rate control or rhythm control. Therapies to prevent blood clots and stroke are also important.
Lifestyle changes may include:
In addition to lifestyle changes, treatments often include medications, procedures, or both.
Medications are used to:
Medications to prevent or treat blood clots and stroke include blood thinners, also called anticoagulants, for example:
Talk with your care team about which blood thinner is right for you. Keep in mind that if you take a blood thinner, you must be very cautious about falls and other accidents that might cause bleeding. There are medicines or antidotes that can reverse the blood-thinning power of warfarin, but those don't exist yet for the newer medications.
You might also have limits on what you can eat. For example, foods like spinach, kale and other vegetables are rich in vitamin K, which can disrupt the way warfarin works. That’s why you have to be careful to eat the same amount every day if you take warfarin. You also need to have your blood checked often when taking this medicine (called your INR/PT).
If you have major bleeding on a blood thinner, your care team may talk with you about a procedure that closes the left atrial appendage – a common location for clots in patients with atrial fibrillation.
|Rate controlling medications||Heart rhythm controlling medications|