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P750-A 7 Steps to a Healthy Heart

Stay Up-to-Date on Current Treatments AFib Treatments One way to improve your health care options is to stay up-to-date on current treatments. By doing so, you may be able to take advantage of a more effective treatment option for your condition. For example, there are now newer medications for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (often called AFib). AFib is a potentially dangerous condition in which the heart’s rhythm is too fast or otherwise abnormal. People with AFib can have no symptoms at all, or they can have such symptoms as: AFib is often treated with medicine and sometimes with other procedures. The risk for blood clots is high in people with AFib, so medicines called anticoagulants and antiplatelets are often prescribed to prevent the possibility of a stroke, or “brain attack.” The medicine often prescribed for many people with AFib is warfarin, a proven remedy. But warfarin requires frequent blood tests to make sure not too much is in your bloodstream. New anticoagulant medicines, including apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban, 38 do not require the blood tests. Although there are risks involved with any medicine, these newer medicines are an improvement for people with AFib. Apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban are prescribed primarily for people who have atrial fibrillation without heart valve disease. Early research indicates a lower risk of bleeding and stroke. Warfarin can be “reversed” if it thins the blood too much, while apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban cannot. In initial studies, apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban have been shown to be very effective in preventing strokes. But people with kidney disease or an elevated risk of internal bleeding should not take these newer medications. If you’re prescribed an anticoagulant medication, talk with your doctor about which compound is right for you. STEP 7 ■■ Mild fatigue or weakness ■■ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath ■■ Palpitations (a sense of racing or uncomfortable “flopping” of the heart) ■■ Lower blood pressure ■■ Lightheadedness ■■ Confusion ■■ Chest pain


P750-A 7 Steps to a Healthy Heart
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