AFib Increases Stroke Risk, Early Detection Key

As seen on THV 11
 
Ada Aiken, AFib coordinator at CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute, works with patients like Jake Parker. Parker's story can provide some insight to those who may have Atrial Fibrillation or AFib. And that's a lot of people apparently. It turns out we're an Atrial Fibrillation nation. Anywhere from two to six million people in the United States are living with atrial fibrillation.

AFib can lead to heart failure, coronary artery disease and dementia. "But the biggest thing with atrial fibrillation is that they are five times more likely to have a stroke," Aiken said. For something this serious, you need an RN like Aiken. "I love the heart," she said. Time with a patient, empowering them with knowledge, the reason she's been at it over 15 years. And if what's been going on with anyone watching is shortness of breath, a fast irregular heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness or fainting, chest pain, listen up. "Early identification is crucial to patient safety and to quality outcomes," Aiken said.

With the number of AFib patients expected to double in the next 10 years. "Those are some things I see right away," she said. She is in contact with a large army. "We have 50 cardiologists overall," she said. All have come to depend on the plainspoken reliability of Aiken's who cautions anyone with suspicions of AFib.

"Start today," Aiken said. "It feels good to be able to say, 'I'm making a difference in my overall heart health.'" One in 25 Americans over the age of 60 will experience AFib complications. But obesity and smoking can increase the risk in all age groups.

For a list of symptoms and risk factors, click here.

Learn more about Atrial Fibrillation or the CHI St. Vincent Heart Institute.