Understanding Atrial Fibrillation in Older Adults

Home Care in Huntington NY

Adults with atrial fibrillation usually have no idea they even have this condition. Other than an uncomfortable feeling of a rapid or irregular heartbeat, there are little to no symptoms that are easy Home-Care-in-Huntington-NYto recognize.

It is a common health problem among elderly adults, affecting at least 5 percent of the population in the United States who are over the age of 65 and 10 percent for those over 75. By not getting diagnosed, your elderly loved one is putting themselves at a high stroke risk. Regular checkups at their doctor’s office is one way to detect atrial fibrillation while it is still in the early stages. Another way is to educate yourself on the condition in order to better understand what someone with this health problem will face in their life and how you or a home care provider can help the senior manage it.



Atrial fibrillation is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart, also known as the atria, experience chaotic electrical signals. This causes these chambers to tremble, resulting in a large amount of impulses in the AV node trying to make their way through to the ventricles. The damage caused to the heart by the bombardment of impulses is atrial fibrillation. Some health conditions that may cause this health problem are:

  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart defects  since birth
  • An overactive thyroid gland or other imbalance in the metabolism
  • Certain medications
  • Excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Sick sinus syndrome, which is an abnormal functioning of the heart’s natural pacemaker
  • Diseases in the lungs
  • Sleep apnea
  • Viral infections
  • Past heart surgeries
  • Stress caused by pneumonia or other illnesses


Risk Factors

Are you concerned that your loved one is at risk for atrial fibrillation. If they are guilty of the following risk factors, then they may be at risk.

  • Getting older: Unfortunately, age is a risk factor. As your elderly loved one gets older, they are at an even greater risk for atrial fibrillation.
  • Alcohol use: Even moderate drinking can put some people at risk for this health problem. The risk increases if they binge drink.
  • High blood pressure: If your loved one has high blood pressure, but is not properly managing it, they could be putting their health at risk for this condition.
  • Family history: Atrial fibrillation may be passed down from generation to generation within some families.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese will put the senior at a high risk.



If the elder has any of the following symptoms, make sure they see their doctor as soon as possible to get properly diagnosed.

  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Lower ability to exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain


Some adults may experience these symptoms periodically, while others will suffer from them frequently. Share these symptoms with the elder’s doctor in order to get treated for atrial fibrillation right away.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Huntington, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions. Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961


Source:  http://www.medicinenet.com/atrial_fibrillation/page6.htm

Jennifer Benjamin
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