Atrial fibrillation triggers

Afib can be difficult to diagnose because of varying symptoms

99146355 450x320Atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib, is an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that starts in the atria, or the upper chambers of the heart. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with Afib.

Although many atrial fibrillation triggers are common, each person’s experience is unique. So, being aware of your condition, along with your ability to identify the triggers that can potentially cause an episode, are important in helping you control atrial fibrillation symptoms, which may include:

  • Fluttering, racing or pounding of the heart
  • Dizzy or lightheaded feeling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chest discomfort

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TAVR patient gets back to enjoying life

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TAVR patient Marilyn Reeve

Marilyn Reeve’s heart issues started with quadruple bypass surgery at age 59. Ten years later, she began having trouble walking short distances, needing to stop often to catch her breath. The diagnosis was aortic valve stenosis. Due to her health history, open-heart surgery was out of the question, according to her doctor. “She recommended I go to the University of Michigan to see if there was anything they could do for me,” Marilyn says.

Fortunately, Marilyn was a candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a procedure for those who cannot tolerate open-heart surgery. Marilyn’s TAVR procedure was a success. “I had my procedure on a Friday and was home on Monday. It’s marvelous what they can do,” she says.

Today, at age 70, Marilyn is back to doing all her own yard work as well as other physical things she couldn’t have done two years ago. She credits the entire U-M TAVR team with helping her get her health back. “U-M is the best hospital ever,” she says. Continue reading

Heart of a Hunter: Easy things to do to protect the heart

Excitement and physical exertion of hunting can be intense

In just a few weeks, Michigan’s regular firearm season begins and tens of thousands of #1BlogImageV2.fw
camouflaged hunters will head for the woods and shorelines.

For some hunters, heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests can be brought on by the strenuous exercise and dramatic bursts of activity that hunting can bring.

Fortunately, hunters can take steps now to protect themselves from heart dangers later this fall – and to make sure they’ll know what to do if a fellow hunter goes down.

Some of the easiest things to do right away include:

  • Getting a pre-hunt medical checkup, with special attention to the heart for those who have had heart problems in the past
  • Starting a daily walking routine or other exercise regimen in the weeks before hitting the woods
  • Learning CPR and first aid

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Pumpkin seeds: Nutrition in a colorful container

Try our baked pumpkin seeds recipe for a heart-healthy snack

pumpkin-seedsThis Halloween, scores of pumpkins will be transformed into festive Jack-o-lanterns. But did you know that pumpkin seeds can be eaten as a heart-healthy snack? Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, pack a powerful nutrient punch with heart-protecting benefits.

Heart-protecting nutrition

Pumpkin seeds have fiber and are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats (the “good” fats) — both of which help lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol. The seeds are also a great source of magnesium, which can benefit blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke.

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Springing to action: CPR saves Michigan fan in cardiac arrest

U-M emergency physician encourages bystander CPR training

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Marv Childrey (left) and Ron Clingerman, of Jackson County, Mich.

Don’t be fooled by the easy banter between Marv Chidrey, 57, and Ronald L. Clingerman, 62, who have been friends and fishing buddies since they worked at the same bank 20 years ago – “what we do is fishing, not catching,” Marv says. Ron pulled no punches last year when Marv collapsed in cardiac arrest at a University of Michigan football game.

He was on the ground, admittedly fumbling to do chest compressions on an unconscious Marv, when a stadium usher radioed for help and another bystander began CPR. In moments, Huron Valley Ambulance paramedics and U-M medical staff on duty at the stadium used a defibrillator to shock Marv’s heart in to rhythm. He’d had the “widow maker” heart attack, and after transport to U-M Hospital, a catheterization team at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center opened Marv’s blocked heart artery.

“If someone is in cardiac arrest, you just have to remember to do two things,” says Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., U-M’s chair of emergency medicine. “Call 911, and start hands-only CPR, pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest.”   Continue reading

Rx for childhood sarcoma survivors: A lifetime of surveillance and screening

sarcoma survivorship

Laurence Baker, D.O. and Monika Leja, M.D. have established the first Sarcoma Survivorship Clinic. It includes pediatric and adult sarcoma experts across all medical disciplines.

A generation ago, despite aggressive surgery that included radical amputation, newly diagnosed patients with a bone or soft tissue sarcoma often died of cancer. Today the vast majority of these patients are cured. But for many teens and young adults who were successfully treated for sarcoma, the future holds uncertainty about achieving or maintaining good health.

Survivors face unique problems and psychosocial challenges related to sarcoma surgery, radiation and chemotherapy that have a major impact on long-term health. Many have a reduced life expectancy.

Heart disease in a 30-year-old is rare; heart disease in a 30-year-old sarcoma survivor is not. In fact, heart disease is the main issue facing sarcoma survivors – nearly a third will develop a cardiac issue after treatment.

Other potential conditions include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Lipid disorders
  • Kidney failure
  • Anxiety, depression and other mental health problems
  • Sarcoma recurrence
  • Secondary cancer(s)

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