Dangerous heart arrhythmia goes unnoticed in half of those affected – healing practice

Treating atrial fibrillation: reducing the risk of stroke

Millions of people suffer from atrial fibrillation. This Cardiac arrythmia Although not immediately life threatening, it does increase over time risk for cardiac arrest and strokes. What is treacherous is that this arrhythmia affects about half of all affected people without symptoms or complaints occur and accordingly unnoticed to stay.

Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of having a stroke. According to the German Heart Foundation, this cardiac arrhythmia is responsible for at least 20% of all strokes in this country each year. However, it often goes unnoticed. The Foundation draws attention to this point in a current press release.

Danger of death

According to experts, approximately 1.8 million people in Germany suffer from atrial fibrillation, the most common persistent heart arrhythmia. This arrhythmia is a serious arrhythmia that sometimes occurs without major symptoms.

“Undetected and untreated, atrial fibrillation can become life threatening, including heart failure and stroke.”, explains cardiologist Prof. Medical Dr. Thomas Voigtländer, CEO of the German Heart Foundation.

Especially when it first occurs, atrial fibrillation triggers fear and anxiety in many affected people when they realize that their heart is losing rhythm. It is therefore important for patients to know if this arrhythmia needs to be treated and what treatment options are available.

For this reason, the German Heart Foundation will provide information on the causes of atrial fibrillation and current diagnostic and treatment options at its National Heart Weeks 2022 in November under the slogan “Heart Turbulence: Atrial Fibrillation”.

Often discovered by chance

In about half of those affected, cardiac arrhythmia is manifested by noticeable symptoms such as palpitations and pounding of the heart to the throat, feeling of pressure in the chest, anxiety, shortness of breath, dizziness and poor performance.

What is treacherous, however, is that atrial fibrillation occurs in about one in two patients without symptoms or complaints and therefore goes unnoticed.

“Atrial fibrillation is therefore often only discovered by chance during a medical examination – sometimes too late, namely only when a stroke or other serious complications have already occurred.”explains cardiologist Voigtländer.

“Because the irregular heartbeat can lead to blood clots in the heart, which, carried by the bloodstream to the brain, block a vessel. There is a risk of stroke. However, blood clots can also block other vessels, for example in the kidneys, legs and arms.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor

Known causes of atrial fibrillation are high blood pressure, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure (heart failure), myocardial disease, heart valve defects, but also hyperthyroidism, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colloquially known as “smoker’s disease”. cough” and overweight.

Atrial fibrillation occurs more frequently in people over 60 and in patients with high blood pressure. Hypertension is present in approximately 60% of all patients with this arrhythmia.

It is therefore important – in addition to the direct treatment of arrhythmia and the prevention of a stroke – to treat the underlying diseases and to know the risk factors.

As the Heart Foundation explains in an article, various drugs are available to treat atrial fibrillation, but they cannot always stop the arrhythmia. You should clarify which therapy makes sense in a detailed discussion with your cardiologist. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • German Heart Foundation: Heart Turbulence: Atrial Fibrillation, (Accessed April 16, 2022), German Heart Foundation
  • German Heart Foundation: Atrial Fibrillation Can Trigger Stroke, (Accessed: April 16, 2022), German Heart Foundation
  • German Heart Foundation: Treating Atrial Fibrillation: Medications Don’t Help Everyone, (Accessed: April 16, 2022), German Heart Foundation

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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