Memphis doctor warns Tennesseans about atrial fibrillation and increased risk of stroke

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) are four to five times more likely to have a stroke.

Methodist cardiac electrophysiologist, Dr. Rajesh Kabra, is spreading the word about this condition that affects millions this AFib Awareness Month.

“Tennessee is in the stroke belt of America. We have really, really high incidence of stroke in this community,” said Kabra.

AFib is an arrhythmia. It is when the heart beats in an irregular way.

Some risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and smoking. Signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, or generalized weakness. In some patients, there may be no symptoms.

Kabra says AFib becomes more likely with age.

He encourages people not to ignore their symptoms. Devices like smartwatches have also helped thousands learn that they have AFib as they are able to track their heart rate.

Some treatments for the condition include medications, blood thinners, and sometimes surgery, such as a catheter ablation.

“It’s a minimally invasive procedure where we basically fix the abnormal circuit which caused atrial fibrillation,” said Kabra.

Kabra says healthy lifestyle changes can help manage AFib risk factors as well.

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