Mar 13, 2013 10:50 AM by Marissa Torres

Steering clear of a stroke

Reducing your risk for stroke starts with being aware of your heart. Atrial Fibrillation, also known as A Fib, is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that usually causes poor blood flow to the body. It can have devastating effects if not caught in time, but the good news is that usually-- the warnings couldn't be more obvious.

"It's nothing to mess around with. If you have pain, redness, warmth, swelling in your extremities especially, see your doctor immediately," says Rhonda Goodwin, a nurse with Frontier Hospice & Home Health.

Those are the clear signs your heart is struggling during A Fib; you have an increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure and are at a high risk for blood clots.

"I didn't have any pain for anything, but I looked down and my foot was swollen."

Patient Bill Munger had seen this before and knew something was wrong. He immediately called a daughter, Rhonda and they rushed to the hospital.

"His was a little bit of a sneaky blood clot, in the fact that his leg was swollen, but it wasn't real red, wasn't real hot, wasn't real painful."

Munger says he was then put on home bound. When you have a blood clot-- too much movement can be dangerous.

A Fib is most commonly seen in people over age 65 due to the aging of the heart and co-existing conditions-- such as hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.

Doctors say with baby boomers getting older-- A Fib is likely to become an epidemic. A Fib itself is not normally life-threatening-- but again- increases the risk for stroke.



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