Atrial flutter is among the most common irregular rhythms of the heart (arrhythmias). It affects the upper heart chambers (atria). It’s caused by an abnormal electrical circuit that makes the atria beat quickly and flutter instead of fully squeezing. It can result in fast heart rates and a heart that doesn’t work as well as it should. This causes symptoms and increases the risk of stroke.
What are the symptoms of Atrial Flutter?
Many people get signs when they have atrial flutter episodes. But other people donâ€™t notice any symptoms.
If you have symptoms, you may feel:
- Weak or tired.
- Dizzy or lightheaded.
- A sensation of fluttering, racing, or pounding in your chest (palpitations).
- Short of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Pre-syncope (feeling like you going to faint)
- Blurry vision
When you check your pulse you might find signs of atrial flutter. Your pulse may seem fast.
When to Seek Medical Care for Atrial Flutter
Call your doctor:
- Whether you have any of the Atrial Flutter signs
- When you are taking atrial flutter medicines and you have some of the signs and symptoms listed
- If you’ve been diagnosed and are being treated for atrial flutter, go immediately to a hospital emergency department if you:
- Have severe chest pain
- Feel faint or light-headed
What causes Atrial Flutter?
Individuals with atrial flutter also have an underlying heart or circulatory disorder including:
â€¢ Coronary Heart Disease
â€¢ Heart Valve Disease
â€¢ Congenital Heart Disease
â€¢ Inflammation Of The Heart (Such As Myocarditis)
â€¢ High Blood Pressure
â€¢ Another Condition, Such As Lung Disease Or Overactive Thyroid.
Sometimes atrial flutter can occur without any cause.
Some people with atrial flutter can also have atrial fibrillation, and experience atrial flutter cycles accompanied by atrial fibrillation cycles.
Who is at risk for atrial flutter?
Risk factors for AFL include certain medications, existing conditions, and lifestyle choices. Individuals vulnerable to atrial flutter tend to:
- Have heart disease
- Have had a heart attack
- Have high blood pressure
- Have heart valve conditions
- Have lung disease
- Have stress or anxiety
- Heart failure
- Take diet pills or certain other medications
- Have alcoholism or binge drink frequently
- Have had recent surgery
- Have diabetes
- Older age
Although natural treatments are often not widely studied, some several treatments and activities may help to reduce the symptoms and effects of A-fib.
This may involve acupuncture, exercise, ample sleep, and stress management, or minimization.
Some triggers for A-fib include:
- Air pollution
- Some over-the-counter, prescription, and recreational drugs
Atrial fibrillation can sometimes lead to the following complications:
Stroke: In atrial fibrillation, the chaotic rhythm can cause blood to pool and form clots in the upper chambers of your heart (atria). If it forms a blood clot, it may dislodge from your heart and move to your brain. There it could block blood flow and cause a stroke.
The risk of an atrial fibrillation stroke depends on your age (you are at increased risk as you age) and whether you have high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of heart failure, and other factors. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners, can significantly reduce your risk of a stroke or other organ damage caused by blood clots.
Heart failure: Atrial fibrillation, especially if not regulated, can weaken the heart and cause heart failure â€” a condition in which your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body.
Can atrial flutter be prevented?
Prevention of atrial flutter focuses on controlling or preventing the risk factors. Here are some tips for preventing atrial flutter is given below:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stop tobacco use.
- Control high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Get regular exercise and be active
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol and/or caffeine.
- Don’t smoke
- Increasing your physical activity
- Avoiding smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- Reducing stress