Receiving an AFib diagnosis can be traumatic and overwhelming. Often, people with AFib have never heard of it before, so it can seem like the diagnosis came out of left field. Feeling fearful, angry, or frustrated is common—especially if you have family or other loved ones who depend on you. For many people, their experience in their healthcare professional’s office or hospital can leave them feeling even more confused about what comes next. That’s why we’ve created a simple guide to go over the most important things to keep in mind as you adjust to life with AFib.
It can be managed.
AFib and its associated risks, including stroke, can be managed with treatment. People with AFib are able to continue with their daily routines and get back to feeling more like their normal selves.
Treatment should be comprehensive.
The goals of AFib treatment are to return your heart rate and rhythm to normal and, most importantly, to protect you from the risk of having a life-threatening or disabling stroke. Your healthcare professional may prescribe a blood thinner like XARELTO® to reduce your stroke risk. It’s important to start your blood thinner as soon as possible to help keep yourself protected—so if you have a prescription, be sure to fill it right away. Your healthcare professional may also prescribe other medications or procedures to help normalize your heartbeat. Learn more about different treatment options that are available for AFib.
You can still enjoy an active lifestyle.
While there is some data to suggest that high-intensity exercise increases the risk of having an AFib episode, there is no evidence to support people with AFib stopping all physical activity. In some studies, physical activity actually reduced the risk of having an AFib episode. Moving more often—even if it’s just walking—can have many benefits for your heart health and overall well-being. Read more about staying active with AFib.
You may need more than aspirin.
The American Heart Association does not recommend aspirin as a primary option for the prevention of stroke due to AFib. Only certain people with nonvalvular AFib and a lower risk (CHA2DS2–VASc score of 1) should consider managing their stroke risk with aspirin. It’s also important to remember that the CHA2DS2–VASc score, which is a measurement of your stroke risk, can change over time. Your score may be low now, but if you have a score of 2 or higher, you may want to talk to your healthcare professional about managing your stroke risk with a blood thinner like XARELTO®.
Learn more about the CHA2DS2–VASc score and use our risk calculator to help start a discussion with your healthcare professional about your options for reducing your risk of stroke.
I urge you to develop a rapport with your cardiologist and his or her staff.
Hear Paul and Teri’s advice for adjusting to life with AFib.