WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly four million Americans suffer from arrhythmias each yeari. Arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders affect the electrical system of the heart and often cause an irregular pulse. During Heart Health Month this February, the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) is calling on all Americans to take action to prevent and treat heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation (AF), which can lead to more serious health issues such as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
The most common heart rhythm disorder that affects the pulse, or electrical system of the heart, is AF.
- AF affects more than 2.7 million American adults.
- AF is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute.
Watch Kristin Gibson, a patient living with AF for more than 10 years, share her story about how she uncovered her heart rhythm disorder while shopping for groceries.
Heart rhythm disorders like AF can lead to other problems like SCA if undetected or untreated.
- SCA is the cause of more than 350,000 deaths in the United States each year, taking more lives each year than breast cancer, lung cancer or AIDS.
- SCA occurs when the heart stops beating, abruptly and without warning. If the heartbeat is not restored with an electrical shock immediately, death can follow within minutes.
"Even people who look healthy and free of heart disease can have a heart rhythm disorder. Heart Health Month is a perfect opportunity for people to examine their heart health and ask what they can do better," said Hugh Calkins, MD, president of Heart Rhythm Society. "There are many simple actions people can take to decrease their risk of heart disease. What may seem like a small lifestyle adjustment may have a huge impact on your heart health, so please listen to your body and talk to your doctor if anything seems abnormal."
Download tips and tools from HRS to learn more about the actions you can take for a healthier heart:
For more information on heart rhythm disorders, visit HRS at www.HRSonline.org.
About the Heart Rhythm Society
The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 5,800 heart rhythm professionals in more than 72 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.HRSonline.org.
i Texas Heart Institute
Contact: Kennesha Baldwin
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SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society