Features September 2011 Issue

Is Atrial Fibrillation the “New Epidemic” in Heart Health?

Understanding that the condition is a permanent one is an important first step is adjusting to life with this common arrhythmia.

As the population grows older, numerous age-related medical conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease to osteoporosis, are becoming more commonplace. Likewise, physicians are encountering a quickly rising number of heart-related problems, too. Among them is atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition in which the heart’s two upper chambers, the atria, will starting beating irregularly and out of synch with the ventricles (lower chambers). About 20 million people worldwide have AF. The numbers of AF cases are increasing so rapidly that the European Heart Rhythm Association called AF “the new epidemic in cardiovascular medicine” in a report issued in June.

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