Condition of the heart

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Condition of the heart. Heart disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and because of this, a variety of conditions tend to occur over time. One of these conditions is atrial fibrillation that, according to the American heart association, “an estimated two million Americans have an irregular heartbeat” (MNN, 2005). It can be seen at times in apparently healthy people, but generally happens in persons older than 65 years of age, and if they are younger than 65 years old, they may suffer conditions such as hypertension, or coronary heart disease. Atrial fibrillation is “a common heart rhythm problem” (CNN,2005). People with this condition may have symptoms such as palpitations, which is usually the “classic symptom”. Some others may complain of shortness of breath, fatigue, dypnea, chest discomfort and lightheadedness (Yee and Rozewicz, 2003). A fib is not commonly life threatening; however, it could lead to complication if not treated properly. Atrial fibrillation may be sporadic or chronic. In sporadic atrial fibrillation, a person may have symptom that comes and goes, don’t last long, and stopped by themselves. However, with chronic A Fib, it lasts until is treated. Some people may have this condition and do not even know it until they go to the doctor for a physical exam. The causes of atrial fibrillation may be difficult to tell. However, in cases such as cardiac surgery, hyperthyroidism, long standing- hypertension, ischemic heart disease, rheumatic heart disease, tachy-brady syndrome, holiday heart syndrome or moderate to heavy intake of alcohol, and other such as electrolytes imbalance, can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (Hiller, 1999). An according to the American Heart Association, 15% of strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation. As a result treating, A Fib is an important way to prevent stroke. (MSNBC, 2005) Normally, in order to pump blood, the heart muscles must contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm; these are controlled by electrical signals that travel through the heart muscle. The heart consists of four chambers, two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). The upper right chamber has a group of cells called the sinus node, the hearts natural pacemaker. The node produces impulses that initiate each heartbeat. During normal rhythm, the impulse goes first to the atria, and then passes to the connecting pathway, which is located between the upper and lower chambers of the heart and is known as atrioventricular node.

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