A common question I get is whether cold weather and atrial fibrillation have any relation. We’re well into wintertime now in the United States and many of us are outside in frigid temperatures. So, the question is, does cold weather actually have an effect on atrial fibrillation? Do people get more frequent episodes of AFib during the wintertime?
There are millions of patients throughout the United States living with atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is the most common irregular heart rhythm, which can significantly increase a patient’s risk of stroke. A patient with atrial fibrillation is 5 times more likely to have a stroke then someone without atrial fibrillation. But why is someone with atrial fibrillation more likely to have a stroke?
After isolation from the digitalis plant, the medication digoxin was first used in the 1930’s to treat a variety of heart conditions in both pill and intravenous form. Digoxin remains one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the management of atrial fibrillation.
Going to the doctor once you’ve received any kind of diagnosis can be scary, confusing and completely overwhelming. Many patients are afraid to voice their confusion or simply don’t know what to ask their doctor in the first place.
A cardiologist is a medical professional that studies and treats the heart. Within the cardiology profession, different heart doctors practice subspecialties of cardiology. For example, some cardiac subspecialists solely perform surgical procedures on the heart. Others specialize in diagnosing various heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease or heart murmurs. Still some cardiologists specialize in doing research about the heart. When people experience heart rhythm problems, it calls for a specialist who can perform certain treatments to restore the heart’s natural rhythm. An electrophysiologist, sometimes referred to as an “EP”, performs these procedures that help manage or correct irregular heart rhythms.