Heart racing erratically this Valentine season

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New York, Jan 14 (UNI) Don't be too ecstatic if you get carried away and encounter racing heart this Valentine season -- it might not be love.

Rather visit your medic soon for the fear of developing atrial fibrillation or Afib, commonly known as ''holiday heart''.

''Too much indulgence in caffeine or alcohol or food can sometimes cause your heart to race in an erratic way,'' J Michael Mangrum of the Atrial Fibrillation Center at the University of Virginia Health System said.

Afib originates in the two upper chambers of the heart (atria). It starts when the electrical impulses that keep our hearts beating in a regular, rhythmic manner suddenly short circuit. The atria begin to quiver and beat irregularly, usually too fast with too little pumping force.

This causes the lower chambers to beat erratically and loose up to 15 per cent of their pumping volume.

When the condition occurs, most people experience heart palpitations, dizziness, faintness, chest discomfort and fatigue.

Besides overindulging, the condition can be triggered by stress, infections, medications and metabolic and electrolyte imbalances.

Afib should not be ignored as the sufferers were five to seven times more likely to suffer a stroke than the general population as the blood moves more slowly through the atria and is more likely to clot.

New developments, however, are taking place to maintain normal heart rhythm through use of medications, or through procedures such as cardioversion (an electrical shock), or through ablation procedures, Dr Mangrum said.

UNI XC SYU KN1256

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