Afib: a common heart problem that is easy to miss
Beginning in 2007, the month of September has been dedicated to raising public awareness about a critical heart condition known as Atrial Fibrillation, or Afib, which is why this month is so close to BioSig's heart.
Thanks to the efforts of Mellanie True Hills, Afib survivor and founder of the American Foundation for Women's Health and StopAfib.org, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month is one of a handful of health observance months adopted by the United States Congress. Passed in 2011, House Resolution 295 affirms the importance of raising awareness about the risk of AFib, improving patient care and safety, and advancing AFib research and education.
After surviving a near-death experience from heart disease and the life-threatening effects of an irregular heartbeat, Mellanie's second chance advocacy is profoundly personal. Afib-free for fifteen years, Mellanie has dedicated her life to supporting those still suffering from the condition. In 2003, she founded StopAfib.org, a leading resource for the Afib community.
This past month, BioSig had the pleasure of attending StopAfib.org's annual conference, Get in Rhythm. Stay in Rhythm, which allowed us to hear directly from Mellanie and many others from the Afib community about the reality of living with an abnormal heart rhythm.
For Mellanie, Afib was unmistakable. During one of her first Afib episodes, while walking near her home in Texas, her heart rate more than tripled—her cardiac monitor reaching 300 beats per minute—when, she recalls, "my heart literally felt as though it was going to leap out of my chest.”*
For some, Afib is more subtle. 'Silent Afib,' or asymptomatic Afib, can be more life-threatening with two times the likelihood of stroke or permanent Afib because symptoms alone often do not reflect the severity or complexity of one Afib diagnosis.* As a result, asymptomatic patients are more likely to be diagnosed after experiencing the more severe consequences of Afib, such as a stroke, blood clots, and even heart failure.*
In her recent New York Times article, Healthcare Reporter, Jane Brody, calls Afib "a common heart problem that's easy to miss." Afib currently affects over 33 million people across the globe. The lifetime risk of developing Afib is more than 20%, but almost 50% of that group is unaware they have the condition. According to Dr. Dhiraj Gupta, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, prompt Afib diagnosis and treatment is vital and, in some cases, lifesaving.*
To protect our hearts and our health, we must be vigilant and proactive by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, scheduling routine check-ups, and most importantly, never ignoring any symptom that could indicate the presence of a heart problem.
In our first post during this year’s National Afib Awareness Month we are listing a few resources that you may find helpful. Don't let a lack of awareness be the cause of an unhealthy heart.
Ken Londoner, CEO & Co-Founder
BioSig Technologies, Inc.
- “Stroke history higher in asymptomatic versus symptomatic atrial fibrillation patients”, CVJ (January 2019)
- “When silence isn’t golden,” The Journal of Innovations in Cardiac Rhythm Management (2017)
- Prompt Diagnosis is “vital” in effective AF management,” Cardiac Rhythm News (July 30th 2020)