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National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month: Atrial fibrillation risk, dementia, atrial fibrillation treatment

September marks the beginning of National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and garner support for a condition that affects nearly 2.2 Americans. Atrial fibrillation is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat that occurs in the upper chambers—called the atria—quiver erratically. Atrial fibrillation is a treatable condition, yet as few as 30 percent with the condition receive the recommended treatment. We at Bel Marra feel we an obligation to bring this important issue to light for your readers, so we have compiled a list of articles touching on the subject. You will find information about atrial fibrillation risk as well as current standards for atrial fibrillation treatment. Another issue is the relationship atrial fibrillation has with the rise in dementia, which is something all seniors should be aware of.

Atrial fibrillation risk, heart chamber damage linked to moderate alcohol consumption: New study

Atrial fibrillation risk and heart chamber damage are linked to moderate alcohol consumption, according to research findings. Senior author of the study Gregory Marcus explained, “There’s growing evidence that moderate alcohol intake may be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the world, but the mechanism by which alcohol may lead to atrial fibrillation is unknown.”
The researchers looked at damage of the left ventricle of the heart as a possible pathway between alcohol and atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a well-known risk factor for stroke. It is characterized by an irregular heart rhythm, which can contribute to blood clotting. Continue reading

atrial-fibrillaiton-risk-increases-with-sleep-problemsAtrial fibrillation, irregular heartbeat risk higher with poor sleep in elderly

Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) risk is higher with poor sleep in elderly, according to research findings. The researchers examined three sources of data to isolate and confirm the impact of inadequate sleep on atrial fibrillation.
The researchers found that disrupted sleep may be an independent risk factor for atrial fibrillation. People who reported frequent nighttime awakening were 26 percent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation. Those diagnosed with insomnia had a 29 percent higher risk of atrial fibrillation diagnosis.
Lead study author Matt Christensen explained, “The idea that these three studies gave us consistent results was exciting.” Continue reading

atrial-fibrillation-in-older-adultsAtrial fibrillation in older adults may affect strength, balance, gait speed, and coordination: Study

Atrial fibrillation in older adults may affect strength, balance, gait speed, and coordination. A study has found that atrial fibrillation – a common form of irregular heartbeat – can accelerate age-related declines in walking speed and strength.
Lead author Jared W. Magnani said, “Particularly in older adults, we need to be mindful that the effects of atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) go beyond increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. We learned from this study that older adults with AFib are especially vulnerable to losing strength, balance, gait speed, and coordination.” Continue reading

atrial-fibrillation-raises-dementia-riskAtrial fibrillation raises dementia risk: Study

Atrial fibrillation raises the risk of dementia, according to research findings. The study also found that atrial fibrillation patients taking warfarin (the blood thinner) to reduce their risk of stroke were more likely to develop dementia, compared to patients who used this medication for other conditions.
The researchers looked at over 6,000 patients on warfarin with no history of dementia. Patients were divided into two groups: those using warfarin for atrial fibrillation and those on warfarin but without atrial fibrillation.
The researchers found that atrial fibrillation patients were two to three times more likely to develop dementia, compared to patients on warfarin without atrial fibrillation. Continue reading

Atrial fibrillation treatment can be effective with new guidelines for surgical ablation

Atrial fibrillation treatment can be effective with new guidelines for surgical ablation. Coauthor of the study Vinay Badhwar explained, “These guidelines represent nearly two years of effort by some of the nation’s leading experts in the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. This important document highlights the increasing global evidence on the safety and efficacy of surgical ablation for the treatment of Afib [atrial fibrillation].”
The literature review revealed a steady development of surgical ablation as a treatment for atrial fibrillation over the last 30 years with frequency and success increasing. Based on this, the guideline committee has put together up-to-date recommendations, concluding that surgical ablation is effective at reducing atrial fibrillation and improving quality of life. Therefore, surgical ablation should have a larger role in adult cardiac surgery. Continue reading


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