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3 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore atrial fibrillation

In a healthy heart, the beat starts at the top and travels like a wave to the bottom. If this top-to-bottom wave doesn’t keep steady, a condition known as atrial fibrillation (or A-fib) occurs. In many cases, this irregular heartbeat stops after a few minutes and seems to go away. Although atrial fibrillation doesn’t cause immediate problems, it can lead to other life-threatening issues if left untreated. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the risks of ignoring atrial fibrillation.


When the heart is beating properly, blood is moved from top to bottom without fail. But with atrial fibrillation, the heart’s contractions are uneven. If the top of the heart doesn’t contract completely (or at all), the blood doesn’t move properly through the heart. A good way to picture this problem is to visualize a wet sponge. If only one section of the sponge is squeezed, other parts of the sponge will still be holding water. When only part of the heart contracts, blood can be left behind and may pool up in the upper chambers of the heart. There is a risk that a clot may form in this standing blood. If a clot gets pumped out of the heart and into the brain, it may cause a stroke, which can lead to brain damage or death.


When the heart is beating irregularly, blood doesn’t move around the body at the proper rate. The body needs oxygen, so the heart must beat faster and harder to try to meet the need. This condition is known as heart failure. Since the blood is not moving correctly, fluid buildup can start to occur in the lungs and other parts of the body. This buildup of fluid can cause fatigue and negatively affect general health.


A normal heartbeat has a top-to-bottom rhythm. During atrial fibrillation, a contraction may start in the middle or bottom of the heart instead. The blood flow becomes irregular and the valves struggle to control the blood flow. The body may get a large flow of blood followed by a small amount. When the body isn’t getting a regular amount of blood, feelings of fatigue can occur, which can create new health issues.


Uncontrolled atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and causes a five-times greater risk of stroke. Thus, although there may not be immediate danger, there are still many risks. Working with a cardiologist is the best way to control atrial fibrillation. There are medications that can control heartbeat and reduce risk of stroke. In some cases, a pacemaker may need to be surgically placed to help the heart beat regularly.


Whether recovering from heart surgery or a heart attack, it is important to have proper cardiac care. The cardiac rehabilitation program at Glenview Terrace offers a level of expertise that is needed for effective recovery. Dr. Eileen Kelly, one of the top cardiologists in the U.S, guides the cardiac program. A comprehensive cardiac plan is created for each patient based on individual needs. Physical, occupational and respiratory therapies are offered up to seven days a week with careful monitoring of all vital signs. A heart-healthy diet and lifestyle education are provided to help move each guest toward an active and healthy way of life. 

At Glenview Terrace, the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked among the top 1% of all Illinois post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers by Newsweek — and has received Medicare’s highest five-star rating. Glenview Terrace has also earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care. For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit or call 847-729-9090