Heart DiseaseAtrial Fibrillation

Let's Talk About Atrial Fibrillation

When your heart’s rhythm gets erratic, blood can clot in its upper chambers, the atria—increasing your risk for stroke. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.

    Our Pro PanelAtrial Fibrillation

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts in atrial fibrillation to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Daniel Cantillon, M.D.

    Daniel Cantillon, M.D.Electrophysiologist

    Cleveland Clinic
    Cleveland, OH
    Laurence Mark Epstein M.D.

    Laurence M. Epstein, M.D.System Director of Electrophysiology

    Northwell Health
    Manhasset, NY
    Andrew Freeman, M.D. headshot.

    Andrew Freeman, M.D.Director of Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness

    National Jewish Health

    Frequently Asked QuestionsAtrial Fibrillation

    What is my risk of stroke?

    This is very individual, and the answer will depend on many factors. Health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure make you more prone to stroke, for example. Your doctor will establish your particular risk and develop a prevention strategy.

    Does my stroke risk go away if I’m not experiencing symptoms?

    No! Remember you could be having an episode of afib and have no symptoms at all. Also, stroke risk is higher in people with atrial fibrillation even when their hearts are beating normally.

    When should I call my doctor?

    If you have any symptoms, such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, or unexplained fatigue, let your doctor know. Your heart’s activity should be evaluated. Be sure you understand all the possible symptoms you may experience so that you recognize them when they occur.

    Will exercise that gets my heart racing trigger Afib?

    Exercise can be a trigger, especially if you overdo it. Then again, low- to moderate-intensity exercise is good for your overall heart health. Discuss your situation with your doctor, who can help you develop a safe fitness program.

    Matt McMillen

    Matt McMillen

    Matt McMillen has been a freelance health reporter since 2002. In that time he’s covered everything from acupuncture to the Zika virus.