The goals of managing atrial fibrillation (also known as AF or AFib) are to:
- relieve AF symptoms
- restore normal heart rhythm by resetting the heart rhythm or controlling the heart rate
- reduce your risk of stroke
- improve your quality of life
- reduce your risk of being hospitalized
- reduce your risk of heart failure
- treat any underlying condition that is causing or increasing the risk of AF (e.g., hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure)
To achieve these goals, your doctor may suggest:
In general, the two strategies to manage atrial fibrillation are rate control and rhythm control. According to atrial fibrillation guidelines, the goal is to get your heart rate to less than 100 beats per minute at rest.
Treatment for AF depends on your heart rhythm, how frequent or severe your symptoms are, and whether you already have other conditions (such as heart disease). People who have AF but do not have symptoms or other heart problems may not need treatment.
Each person is unique, and treatment that may work for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. That's why it's important to discuss with your doctor all your symptoms and how your treatment may be working. Your doctor may even recommend several different treatments before finding the right one for you. Because conditions and circumstances can change and irregular heartbeat can progress, your doctor must continually monitor you to help you better manage atrial fibrillation.