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What is A Fib?

Frequent viewers of daytime television or any network application on a tablet or mobile device are often subjected to frequent commercial for Xarelto, a drug used to treat atrial fibrillation. The commercial usually begins with a daughter telling her father he has "A Fib," or a woman describing what she used to be able to do before she was diagnosed with "A Fib." While the commercial does a good job of describing how Xarelto treats "A Fib" and what the side effects are, it never really describes in great detail what "A Fib" actually is.

According to, "A Fib," or Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular and rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow to the body. The heart's two upper chambers (atria) beat chaotically and irregularly out of sync with the two lower chambers of the heart (ventricles.)

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Heart defects a person is born with
  • Overactive thyroid or metabolic imbalance
  • Exposure to stimulants, such as medications, caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol
  • Sick sinus syndrome--functioning of heart's natural pacemaker
  • Emphysema or other lung diseases
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Viral infections
  • Stress due to pneumonia, surgery, or other illnesses
  • Sleep apnea

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain

See your doctor or medical professional if you experience any of the above symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation.

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