What Is Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?
Paroxysmal is a condition derived from atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) refers to abnormal heartbeats. These impulses are not just irregular heartbeats, but appear as vibrations in the atria chamber of the heart. Once a person suffers from the condition, these vibrations in the atria can also cause clotting of blood within the chambers.
Paroxysmal is known as one of the types of atrial fibrillation. This condition is known as the first stage of AFib. It causes uncertain quivering in the atria, which occurs in intervals. These abnormal vibrations come and go with an irregular pattern.
Who Gets Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation?
A very high number of people find themselves suffering from the condition. Approximately 25-62% of this number suffer from paroxysmal AFib.The infection is mostly found to affect younger people.
Causes of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
Factors that are known to alter the functioning of the heart are mostly associated with causing paroxysmal AFib. Causes of this infection may include:
- Continuous damage of the heart tissues as a result of various heart infections and high blood pressure.
- High use of caffeine
- Thyroid complications
- Low amounts of potassium in the body. This causes a very high electrolyte imbalance in the body.
- Defects in the heart valves
- Stress. People suffering from too much stress either from surgery or illness can suffer from paroxysmal AFib as a result of abnormal functioning of the heart.
- Viral infections
- High amounts of nicotine in the body
- Drugs and medications used as stimulants such as cocaine, methylphenidate.
Symptoms of Paroxysmal AFib
Like any other type of AFib, paroxysmal has its own symptoms that a patient should be aware of. They may include the following.
There are other serious symptoms caused by the condition when it is prolonged. These involve embolisms and strokes. This happens when blood clots start appearing. When a blood clot forms in the brain, a stroke occurs. Other sensitive parts of the body that can be affected may include the gut or lungs.
How Is Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Treated?
The main effect of this condition is altering the rhythm of your heart. Treatment is targeted towards restoring the heart’s rhythm to normal. Treatment measures include:
- Use of medications: At this stage, AFib is not dangerous, so doctors can recommend use of medications to restore the rhythm of the heart.
- Electrical shock (cardioversion): It is also used as a means of getting the heart’s rhythm back to normal.
- Anti-arrhythmic medicine.
- Thinning medications in case the condition recurs. Warfarin is one such medication.
- Beta-blockers can also be used to prevent high blood pressure.
How Do I Live With Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation
To reduce recurrence or episodes of AFib, you should prevent other underlying conditions that can cause the infection such as obesity and thyroid diseases. To prevent additional symptoms of paroxysmal avoid excessive intake of alcohol. Stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine should be avoided. You should also avoid excessive smoking.
The Bottom Line
Paroxysmal AFib is the mildest type of atrial fibrillation infection. Paroxysmal can easily develop to other conditions if not treated in time. These other infections involve:
- Persistant AFib: It is a type of infection that cannot heal without treatment.
- Chronic AFib: It is continuous and cannot be treated by medications or electrical shock.
Once you find out you have paroxysmal AFib, visit a doctor regularly for check-up to prevent it from advancing to other conditions.