National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month

Jeannie Winselman and Audrey Clough
SAC’s Enrichment Center

September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat and is a major cause of strokes. In addition, it can lead to heart failure, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. AFib is the most common arrhythmia, so we need to be aware of its risks and learn more about this complex condition.

AFib is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart beat unpredictably. Normally, our heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. When you have Afib, your heart can beat as high as 175 times per minute. These irregular heartbeats can cause blood to collect in the heart and potentially form a clot, which can travel to a person’s brain and cause a stroke. AFib is more common in people with high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. While it can occur at any age, it is more common in people 65 years and older.

Often times people with AFib will not have any symptoms. This is called silent AFib and is detected during a physical exam. However, others may have one or more of the following symptoms: general tiredness, rapid and irregular heartbeat, fluttering in the chest, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, chest pain and low blood pressure. Since a rapid heart rate may be a sign of AFib, knowing your pulse rate can alert you to a possible problem.

Approximately 2.7 million people in the U.S. have AFib. Many of them have one or more other health problems. Other medical conditions or factors can increase your risk for AFib and make managing it more difficult. These include age, family history, high blood pressure, heart disease, stimulant use, obesity, and some chronic conditions–diabetes, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, metabolic syndrome, chronic lung disease or kidney disease. Women are at greater risk than men.

Untreated AFib can have serious consequences. If you think you might have it, please get diagnosed and treated before you have a stroke. September is a great time to raise awareness and enhance communication between patients and doctors, and strive to improve the quality of life for those with AFib. By spreading the word about AFib, we can decrease AFib-related strokes.

Weekly Activities
Monday, Sept. 11
• 8:30 a.m. – Morning Stretch.
• 9:30 a.m. – Walking.
• 1 p.m. – Bridge.
Tuesday, Sept. 12
• 10 a.m. – Adult Coloring.
• 10 a.m. – Knit & Stitch.
• Noon – “Hand and Foot” Cards.
Wednesday, Sept. 13
• 8:30 a.m. – Morning Stretch.
• 9 a.m. – Cribbage.
• 10:45 a.m. – DayTrippers Play, Monkey Business.
• 1 p.m. – Medicare Seminar.
Thursday, Sept. 14
• 9:30 a.m. – Walking.
• 10:30 a.m. – No Pegs and Jokers; error in Calendar. It’s the third Thursday of month.
• 9:15 a.m. – Memory Coffee Hour. Call Angie D. at Family Pathways at 320-364-1115 or email her at [email protected]
• Noon – “500” cards.
• 5:30 p.m. – Refresher Course for Driver Improvement Program.

Upcoming Events
Monday, Sept. 18: Cruise down the Mighty Mississippi. Leave from SAC’s Center at 9 a.m. and board the Jonathan Padelford River Boat at 10:30 a.m. Great history lesson, great food and great entertainment.
Tuesday, Oct. 2 – Tour of Minnesota Capitol. More information next week. Call 763-689-6555 to sign up.