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high-blood-pressure-causes-atrial-fibrillationIs High Blood Pressure Associated with Atrial Fibrillation?

According to a new study out of Norway, yes.  High blood pressure left untreated can damage the heart, causing palpitations and eventually atrial fibrillation.  The Norwegian study examined people with high blood pressure who also struggled with heart palpitations over a 10-year period and monitored their heart issues.  And there seems to be a correlation between high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.  Over time, high blood pressure can cause damage to the heart's electrical system, causing an irregular heart beat.  And an irregular heart beat is a serious risk factor for atrial fibrillation, increasing your risk for stroke five-fold, tripling heart attack risk, and doubling your death risk.  The good news is that we can get control of our health and get that blood pressure down!  Here is information on what exactly high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation are, and how to lower your blood pressure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

  • High blood pressure is prevalent in our nation, with our ever growing rates of obesity.  When a person has high blood pressure, the force of the blood moving through the arteries is so high that eventually the person develops heart disease along with other health problems.  The amount of blood that is pushed through the artery walls and how narrow the arteries are, determines blood pressure, and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
  • The scary fact about high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is that a person can have it with zero symptoms, leaving them at higher risk for stroke and heart attack.  The condition eventually affects us all as we age, but there are ways to control high blood pressure with diet, exercise and medications.
  • People that do have symptoms of high blood pressure may experience dizziness, headaches described as being "dull," or nosebleeds.  However, these symptoms usually do not present themselves until blood pressure is extremely high.  A normal blood pressure reading should be below 120/80.  Any reading higher than that increases health risk.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

There are a number of medications out there that your doctor can prescribe.  Ask your doctor which one is best for you.  However, you can make some lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure.  Cut the salt and eat more healthily.  Increase your exercise habits or start exercising.  If you smoke, quit!  And limit your alcohol consumption.  Monitor your blood pressure regularly.  

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation occurs when the heart does not beat efficiently, shortchanging your body on blood supply.  Many people have no symptoms until a doctor discovers it during a physical exam.

igns and Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

  • Feelings of weakness
  • Heart palpitations, your heart may race or thump in your chest, making an uncomfortable feeling.
  • Light-headedness, dizziness or confusion
  • Blood pressure has decreased
  • Pain in the chest
  • Feeling out of breath
The condition can be regular or occasional and if you have any of the above symptoms or are feeling funny, see a doctor.  With chest pain, call 911 immediately as you may be experiencing a heart attack.
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