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The ‘Minor’ Heart Symptom You Should Never Ignore

Know what to look for and when to speak up

The warning signs of atrial fibrillation can range from a minor fluttering feeling in the chest, to a full-on fainting episode.

According to Gillis, some people first notice a problem during physical activity. They can’t handle a flight of stairs without losing their breath, or they aren’t able to make it through their usual 40-minute spin class without having to stop.

The tricky thing about atrial fibrillation is that it can be hard to explain. “People often have a difficult time describing their symptoms. They know that something’s not quite right, they don’t feel well, but they can’t define it,” says Gillis.

Especially when it comes to your heart, it’s important to resist the urge to shrug off a seemingly minor symptom.

“Caregivers (and women, in particular) tend to underestimate the symptoms related to heart disease,” Gillis says, “They focus so much on the senior that the end up trivializing their own health.”

Because the symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be varied and vague, Gillis urges those with concerning symptoms to speak up and address their concerns with their doctor.

Getting diagnosed is the first step towards gaining access to the variety of treatments, both surgical and non-surgical (prescription medications), available to help manage irregular heart rhythms and their potential complications.

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Read more: General Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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5:54PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

It seems like this is what I had, due to some medication. I went off the medication, and it immediately went away. I wonder if there is any danger of it coming back, now. I haven't seen the doc yet.

5:44PM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

I recently had a dna test ran and I am at a higher risk for developing atrial fibrillation. Now that I know I can keep a closer eye on my heart health and keep living healthy to improve my chances of not becoming a statistic.

4:09PM PST on Mar 1, 2013


1:35AM PST on Feb 13, 2013

thanks for sharing

1:29AM PST on Feb 11, 2013


3:46PM PST on Feb 10, 2013


1:53PM PST on Feb 9, 2013

Afib runs in my family. If you have symptoms and your dr. shrugs it off find another dr.

10:08PM PST on Feb 8, 2013


8:52PM PST on Feb 8, 2013

major problem is the blood that is pooling could cause clots, do not ignore, age doesn't matter it is how well we take care of ourselves, exercise, healthy foods, I have met people twice my age that can run circles around me. Most are vegetarians, never smoked, drank, and exercised regularly, plus they have awesome genetics.

10:07AM PST on Feb 8, 2013

To anyone who claims that they have any of these signs and symptoms, have been checked out by their one doctor and told they were OK, you really need to take responsibility for your own health. Go back and demand answers. Dizziness may not indicate a cardiac problem-maybe it's anemia or hypothryoidism, or something else that could be determined on a variety of blood tests. Heart rate abnormalities should always be investigated with more than an in office EKG. Ask for a monitor you wear at home for a period of time that records your heart rate/EKG for 24 hours over a period of days. You record your activity when you send in the results. To assume that all doctors are excellent and have covered all bases is naive. If you are not getting answers or are not being taken seriously, find a new doctor!! It is your health and your life.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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