Skip to Main Content

5x the Risk: The Common Condition That Could Lead to Stroke

Posted in: Blogs , English

A stroke is a major, life-threatening emergency that occurs when blood flow to the brain gets blocked or interrupted. Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is a common heart condition that dramatically increases your risk of stroke. The good news is that many treatments can help you manage AFib and lower your chance of stroke.

What Is AFib?

The sinus node in your heart creates electrical signals that tell it when to contract, causing a heartbeat. AFib occurs when this node abnormally sends electrical signals and leads the upper chambers of your heart, or atria, to beat irregularly. Symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common symptom is a fluttering heartbeat. Others include weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Some people with AFib even report not having any noticeable symptoms.

What Are the Risks Associated With AFib?

Hearts affected by AFib don’t properly pump blood out, which increases the person’s susceptibility to clots forming when the blood fills the atria and coagulates. If one of these clots escapes, it can block the flow of blood to the heart and cause a heart attack or block the flow of blood to the brain and cause a stroke. If you have AFib, your risk of a heart attack doubles and your risk of stroke is five times greater than average.

How Can Someone With AFib Prevent Stroke?

If you have AFib, you can reduce your chance of stroke by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and following your doctor’s treatment plan. That includes routinely taking any prescribed medication for AFib, which will likely include a blood thinner to prevent clots. If medications aren’t working out for you, talk with your doctor about non-surgical and surgical procedures that can help reduce your risk of stroke.

How Can You Spot a Stroke?

If you suspect a stroke, think F.A.S.T.

F - Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the mouth droop on one side?

A - Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?

S - Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase back to you. Does it sound strange or incoherent?

T - Time. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you suspect a stroke. Take note of the time you first noticed symptoms.

The trusted staff at St. Luke’s Health emergency departments use evidence-based protocols in stroke care. At our two DNV-certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers, our doctors can provide quick treatment for even the most complex cases.

CDC | Stroke Signs and Symptoms
American Heart Association | What are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?
American Heart Association | What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?
American Heart Association | Answers by Heart

Recent Updates

Start the mental health conversation with your PCP

DEC 08, 2022

Mental health is central to our health and well-being. In fact, mental health problems are very common and represent a significant proportion of primary care visits.

Read More Additional information about Start the mental health conversation with your PCP | St. Luke's Health

Factors that can increase your risk of liver cancer

DEC 08, 2022

The liver is the second largest and hardest working organ. The liver is relentless. It works nonstop behind the scenes to keep us healthy. It removes waste and produces bile, which helps turn fat into energy.

Read More Additional information about Factors that can increase your risk of liver cancer | St. Luke's Health

The truth about diet products that promise quick results

DEC 08, 2022

In general, diet trends that promise fast, unrealistic results are never a good idea. But when it comes to losing weight, what's the best approach? Here's what you should know before you follow the next nutrition trend.

Read More Additional information about The Truth About Diet Products | St. Luke's Health

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.