Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.
It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, and debilitating pain.
AFib can also increase the risk of stroke fivefold. It is estimated to be responsible for 88,000 deaths and $16 billion in additional costs to the U.S. healthcare system. As the world population ages, the prevalence of AFib is projected to increase. In fact, in the next 30-40 years, the number of people in diagnosed with AFib in the U.S. is expected to more than double.
The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), through its efforts during Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month in September and throughout the year, is working to increase public knowledge of AFib, including its symptoms, warning signs, and available treatment options.
September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month
Many people don’t know that they live with AFib, a serious but treatable condition, emphasizing the need for more public education about AFib.
The U.S. Senate first approved a resolution in 2009 designating the month of September as Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, reinforcing the need to raise awareness and garner support for initiatives affecting AFib.
On July 29, 2011, the Senate passed by unanimous consent S. Res. 243 promoting increased awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of atrial fibrillation to address the high morbidity and mortality rates and to prevent avoidable hospitalizations associated with the disease.
NEW! Register to participate in the World Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Day Yoga & Run, which takes place on Saturday, September 14 in Leawood, Kansas. Created by the Global Atrial Fibrillation Alliance, money for this event will be used to support the organization’s efforts for greater public awareness of AF and investigator initiated research. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register to participate in this race.
Source: www.hrsonline.org; September, 2013.