What happens when the heart loses rhythm?


The heart beats and beats and beats. But sometimes it gets out of step. The most common cardiac arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. Three things you should know about it.

When the heart stops beating in rhythm: According to the German Heart Foundation, up to two million people in Germany are affected by atrial fibrillation. If cardiac arrhythmia first appears, many perceive it as threatening. Three facts about atrial fibrillation.

Fact 1: Atrial fibrillation sometimes has no symptoms

The heart is beating fast, the chest is tight and sore, the dizziness. According to the German Heart Foundation, this can make atrial fibrillation evident. At first there are only short and rare attacks, then more and more often. But it is not necessary.

There are people who have no atrial fibrillation symptoms – according to the German Heart Foundation, this could be the case for every second person affected.

They will heartthe arrhythmia is at best discovered by chance. For example, when you feel your heartbeat, measure your blood pressure, or take an ECG when you visit a doctor.

Insidious: Especially in older people, atrial fibrillation often occurs without symptoms. According to the Heart Foundation, about one in ten people over the age of 70 are affected.

Fact 2: The smartwatch can help detect

Lot of smart watches have ECG sensors or measure heart rate using infrared light. Both methods can help uncover atrial fibrillation, especially when you have no symptoms.

Wearable devices have decent accuracy. According to the Heart Foundation, they detect atrial fibrillation in over 90% of cases.

“However, the diagnosis of the recorded arrhythmia must always be confirmed by the specialist,” says Prof. Thomas Voigtländer, president of the Heart Foundation.

After all, if the measurement data suggests a cardiac arrhythmia, the devices usually report it and advise a doctor to investigate.

Fact 3: The risk of stroke increases with atrial fibrillation

Even if atrial fibrillation is not accompanied by symptoms – the risk for you stroke however, it increases with it. According to the German Heart Foundation, 20 to 30 percent of strokes in Germany are due to atrial fibrillation.

And here’s what’s behind it: Due to false electrical stimuli, the auricles no longer contract in an orderly fashion. They fibrillate, causing blood flow to decrease in the atria and blood clotting more easily.

This promotes the formation of a blood clot that can enter the vessels of the brain. If it blocks a vessel there, the brain will no longer be supplied with vital oxygen – a stroke occurs.

And how can the risk be reduced? Patients often take blood thinners to prevent this. And of course, lifestyle also counts here: if you eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and don’t smoke, you do a lot to prevent a stroke.

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