Chances are that you don’t pay much attention to your heartbeat. The pulsing in your chest is so routine that you forget it’s even there. While you go about your day, your heart is working hard to supply blood to the rest of your body, and most of the time, you don’t give it a second thought, but not everyone’s heartbeat is so steady.
Millions of people worldwide experience AFib. In this condition, the electrical signals that send blood through the heart become rapid, irregular and disorganized. This can cause the heart to pump less efficiently.
If you suspect you have AFib, checking your pulse can be a simple way to listen in on your heart beat and check for an irregular rhythm. To do this, put the index and middle fingers of your right hand on the inside of your left wrist, and feel for a pulse. Rather than counting the beats, pay attention to the rhythm and pattern.
If your pulse is irregular, your doctor may want to do some further testing to see if you have AFib. This will likely include asking a series of questions about your medical history and risk factors including:
- How long have you had symptoms? What are they like?
- Do you have other medical conditions?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Does anyone in your family have Afib?
- Do you have heart disease or a thyroid condition?
Your doctor will listen to your heart with a stethoscope and check your pulse. If they think further testing is required, they may arrange for you to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood tests.
Talk with a healthcare professional about AFib. If you are a healthcare professional, take initiative and evaluate your patients for AFib/arrhythmia risk.