Atrial fibrillation is often discovered during routine medical checkups, because many people don't have symptoms. Others may notice an irregular pulse but don't have other symptoms.
Mild symptoms of atrial fibrillation may occur immediately. More serious problems may occur after the start of atrial fibrillation and over the course of several days. So it is important to identify symptoms and get treatment as soon as possible.
- Reference Heart palpitations Opens New Window.
- Irregular pulse.
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or emotional stress.
- Weakness, fatigue.
- Dizziness, confusion.
- Lightheadedness or fainting (Reference syncope Opens New Window).
- Chest pain (Reference angina Opens New Window).
Checking your pulse
Reference Checking your pulse Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window is important, because many people don't have symptoms of atrial fibrillation. Ask your doctor how often you should check your heartbeat. Once a month might be right for you.
If you notice that your heartbeat doesn't have a regular rhythm, talk to your doctor.
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
When atrial fibrillation comes on suddenly, lasts a short time, and goes away on its own, it is called Reference paroxysmal atrial fibrillation Opens New Window. Typically, over time, episodes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation come on more often and last longer.
Persistent atrial fibrillation
Over time, episodes of atrial fibrillation typically last longer and often don't go away on their own. This is called persistent atrial fibrillation.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology