(September 1, 2018) – September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month and an estimated 3-6 million people in the United States have Atrial Fibrillation, often called AFib or AF. Approximately 10% of seniors aged 65 and older have the condition and, with the aging of the U.S. population, this number is only expected to increase.
Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. An Arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. When a person has AFib, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart (the two atria) is irregular and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart (the two ventricles.) AFib may occur in brief episodes, or it may be a permanent condition.
Palmeira Home + Health Arizona and Nevada patients describe Atrial Fibrillation in different ways. For AFib, one symptom doesn’t fit all:
“My heart flip-flops, skips beats, and feels like it’s banging against my chest wall, especially if I’m carrying stuff up my stairs or bending down.”
“I was nauseated, light-headed, and weak. I had a really fast heartbeat and felt like I was gasping for air.”
“I had no symptoms at all. I discovered my AF at a regular check-up. I’m glad we found it early.”
When patients are recovering at home following surgery or during long illnesses, particular medical attention must be paid to AFib risk factors and symptoms by their home health caregivers to promote overall health and well-being. Over 5 million U.S. patients received home-based medical care in 2017 and proper care can save lives.
“Monitoring for AFib in a home-based recovery situation is key to our quality care delivery at Palmeira,” says Palmeira Health Services CEO Gen Barter, “and it is especially important because some patients live years with this condition without understanding how to properly manage this disease, and our team of dedicated nurses and therapists are here to help with that. We utilize the latest techniques to monitor and manage this condition in the home as we strive for better outcomes for our patients.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 750,000 hospitalizations occur each year because of AFib. The condition contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year. The death rate from AFib as the primary or contributing cause of death has been rising for more than two decades.
The risk for AFib increases with age. High blood pressure also accounts for up to 22% of AFib cases. AFib also increases a person’s risk for stroke by four to five times.
Palmeira monitors AFib risk factors for patients including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Ischemic heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heavy alcohol use
According to Barter, in addition to skilled nursing care, family support in the home is an important part in treating and managing AFib. Her tips for aiding families includes asking questions at the hospital and of your in home caregiver; discuss things with your spouse and children; praise your loved one for new good habits; avoid nagging; take a CPR class; learn the warning signs of a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest and stroke; and help your loved one manage his or her medicine and treatment program.
For more information on Atrial Fibrillation visit the Palmeira website for a copy of the CDC’s AFib Fact sheet at: www.PalmHH.com/afib
Palmeira Home + Health, a division of Palmeira Health Services, is a leading home health care provider offering skilled nursing services to home-based patients in Arizona and Nevada. Palmeira helps patients recover faster by initiating follow up care within 24 hours, using an established Point-of-Care Technology for a more effective continuum of care, and providing a treatment regimen focused on lower hospital readmission rates. Palmeira currently works with over 500 physicians, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities to provide services with lower readmission rates half the national average. Find out more at www.PalmHH.com.
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