Atrial Fibrillation & Clogged Arteries

At Omniya Clinic in London

Atrial Fibrillation

The device that we use is able to detect atrial fibrillation. This is a heart condition that can result in a heart rate that is irregular and often abnormally fast. A normal heart rate is supposed to be regular, meaning it is between 60 and 100 beats per minute when you are resting.

Clogged Arteries

Clogged arteries happen when there is a build-up of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries. Arterial plaque can lower blood flow. In some cases, it can block the flow of blood altogether. Arteries that are clogged greatly heighten the chances of a stroke or heart attack.

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The Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

If you have atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and often fast. In some cases, it can be significantly higher than 100 beats per minute. These can cause issues such as tiredness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. You can notice heart palpitations, and this is when your heart feels like it is beating irregularly, fluttering, or pounding. This can happen for a few seconds or in some cases it can be a few minutes. Sometimes, you don’t have any symptoms at all. However, this is what artery screening is here to help with.

The Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

When the heart beats as it should, the muscular walls will contract so that blood is pumped around the body. They will then relax, enabling the heart to fill with blood again. Every time the heart beats, this process is repeated. However, with atrial fibrillation, the atria, which is the upper chambers of the heart, contract randomly. Sometimes, this can happen so fast that the muscles of the heart are not able to relax correctly between contractions. This lowers the performance and efficiency of the heart.

Atrial fibrillation occurs when abnormal electrical impulses suddenly begin firing in the atria. These impulses override the natural pacemaker of the heart, which can no longer control the heart’s rhythm. This can cause you to have a pulse rate that is highly irregular. The cause is not understood fully, yet it does tend to impact certain groups of people. It can also be triggered in specific situations, for instance, if you are smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

Atrial Flutter

There is another, similar type of condition, which is known as atrial flutter. The symptoms are the same, as well as the possible complications and causes, yet atrial flutter is less common and there are a few differences. Roughly a third of those with atrial flutter will also have atrial fibrillation. While the two conditions are similar, with atrial flutter the rhythm is less chaotic and more organised than the abnormal patterns that atrial fibrillation causes. Treatment for atrial flutter is also a bit different. Catheter ablation is typically the best treatment, yet it does, of course, depend on the individual.

What Are Clogged Arteries?

Clogged arteries happen when there is a build-up of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries.

Plaque that gathers on the inner walls of your arteries is made from a number of different substances that circulate in your blood. This includes cellular waste, cholesterol, fat, and calcium, as well as fibrin, which is a material involved in blood clotting. In response to the build-up of plaque, cells in your artery walls will multiply, secreting additional substances that can make the state of your clogged arteries even worse.

A condition called atherosclerosis can occur as these plaque deposits grow. This causes your arteries to harden and narrow. It’s unclear for sure what causes this. However, the process seems to result from damage to the arterial wall lining. There are a number of reasons why this may occur, yet some of the most common are as follows:

Diabetes or elevated circulating blood sugar – This is a major culprit. Even individuals that have high sugar levels, which are not yet at a diabetic level, for example, those seen in metabolic syndrome, have heightened risk of plaque formation.

Cigarette smoke – Smoke from cigarettes seems to increase the rate of atherosclerosis in the arteries of the aorta, legs, and heart. The aorta is the biggest artery in the body.

High blood pressure – If you have high blood pressure, this will increase the rate at which there is a build-up of arterial plaque. This will fasten up the hardening of clogged arteries.

Low ‘good’ cholesterol and high ‘bad’ cholesterol – Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or high levels of bad cholesterol are huge contributors to arterial plaque formation. However, this does not tell the complete story. All people have high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol in circulation in their blood. It is believed that HDL will eradicate some of the bad cholesterol from the plaque in clogged arteries, transporting it back to the liver, where it is eliminated.

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