Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Atrial fib--yick

…Atrial fibrillation, a chronic condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat wackily or jiggle, used to be considered harmless.

…Now, docs have fluffed it up into a life-threatening ailment with chancy and not too effective “treatments.” Supposedly afib is a major cause of strokes from blood clots churned up by the weird rhythm.

…HA knows. She has symptomless afib and is “in it” almost all the time.

…Most people with atrial fib (it is genetic to some extent) feel horrible, light-headed, and like “a three-pound bass is struggling in their chest,” according to some sufferers.

…The rhythm adjusting medicine they gave HA almost killed her. Then, when they saw that was not the greatest, they gave her a blood thinner. If clots formed, the theory goes, they will dissolve before they can cause trouble.

…HA been hit with two major bleeds, including her right eye.

…So now, she walks around in afib with no medication except a rate slower and isn’t that worried.

…Of course, there are other treatments, zaps to the nerve bundles misfiring and a new technique of cutting little holes in the heart, which alleviates the arrhythmia,
sometimes permanently, sometimes not. These procedures are dubbed Maze orocedures.

…HA’s aunt and brother also have afib and their doctors say take an extra beta blocker pill when it happens. Always follow your own doc’s advice, of course, but this shows
how widely treatments vary.

…Another afibber, Mellanie True Hills, author of A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Heart: The HEART Program for Health and Longevity, has created a website to address these issues.

…Check out

…Supposedly, a third of people with afib will have a stroke. Well, a lot of people who get these surgeries have to have it done more than once.

..Another crappy disease you don’t want. But 5 million people already have it.


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