4 Things You Should Know About Your Pacemaker

4 Things You Should Know About Your Pacemaker

For those aspiring for better health, a lower resting heart rate is typically one of the most common goals. But what happens when your heart starts beating too slowly?

Fatigue, lightheadedness, and confusion are all symptoms of a heart that’s working inefficiently and may be in need of a pacemaker. Used to regulate the rhythm of the heart in both speed and frequency, pacemakers weigh anywhere between 25 to 35 grams and are used in patients with slower heartbeats around 40 or 50 beats per minute or less.

This tiny device can make a huge improvement in your life if your doctor thinks you’re a candidate for the treatment. Here are four things you should know about this life-altering device:


1. Pacemakers can improve your quality of life

Since the 1950s, pacemakers have been used to improve the overall quality and longevity of life in many heart patients. According to Livestrong.org, pacemakers even made an impact on mortality, reducing death rates by 22 percent and hospitalizations by 37 percent. Other studies found that pacemaker recipients have reported significantly more energy and overall feel happier in their everyday activities.


American Heart Association Training2. Pacemakers can be disrupted by external forces.

Regardless of whether your pacemaker is surgically implanted or an external temporary one, it uses battery-operated power to send electrical impulses to your heart. Patients need to be aware of their surroundings to avoid risk of interference. According to Heart.org, devices like metal detectors and even anti-theft systems at the entrance of businesses can cause disturbances. When near these kinds of technology, it’s important to not linger and move quickly through the detectors or entrances. Headphones too can cause issues and should be kept away from your pacemaker, particularly avoiding being stored in a shirt pocket above your heart.


alert_bracelet3. Pacemakers are one of the most common reasons for medical ID jewelry.

When you’re in a scary situation and need medical attention fast, a piece of medical ID jewelry could be a lifesaver. If something were to go wrong with your pacemaker, your bracelet or necklace could help emergency medical personnel know your current heart conditions faster, which leads to quicker life-saving treatments and safer choices for your care. And thanks to the era of online shopping, there are tons of styles to choose from to make this important piece of fashion more fun. Jewelry not your thing? No worries! Heart.org has an easy-to-download card you can fill out to use for identification.


Request appointments4. Pacemakers don’t last forever.

Thanks to long-lasting batteries, a pacemaker can last between five to 10 years. However, it is essential to have regular checks to ensure your pacemaker is working properly and being as effective as possible for you to live your best, healthiest life. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System offers high quality cardiovascular services equipped with the staff and technology to help you with your pacemaker needs. Whether you’re about to start your pacemaker journey or you’re looking for ongoing care, you can trust us with your whole heart.

4 Things You Should Know About Your Pacemaker

5 Things You May Not Know about AFib

American Heart Association TrainingAtrial Fibrillation is a common condition where the heart beats irregularly and causes inefficient blood flow. Whether your doctor recently discussed your symptoms and diagnosis with you or you suspect you may have this arrhythmia, here are five things you may not be aware of when it comes to AFib and how it can affect you.


Anyone Could Have It

While it’s more common in people over 60, AFib can occur in anyone at any time and any age. According to the CDC, an estimated 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States have AFib. There are some factors that can increase your likelihood of developing the condition, such as obesity and diabetes, but regardless, it’s important to know the signs. If you feel an off-kilter fluttering in your chest, it may be time to get checked out by your doctor.


Alcohol and Caffeine Could Be a Factor

While unwinding is good for the soul, too much can be detrimental to the heart. According to AFibMatters.org, too much caffeine could raise one’s blood pressure and increase heart rate, triggering the condition. However, with moderation, even those diagnosed with AFib can enjoy two to three daily cups of coffee and an occasional drink as long as alcohol consumption is kept between two to three units a day. Two to three days a week should also be completely alcohol free.


AFib Increases Risk of Stroke

Signs and symptoms of stroke

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Because AFib causes the heart to beat irregularly, those who have the condition could potentially have blood pool in the atria since it’s not efficiently being pumped between ventricles. This means a blood clot could break off and lodge itself into the artery leading to the brain. According to Heart.org, 15-20 percent of stroke victims have AFib.

Knowing the symptoms of a stroke could save your life. The acronym BE FAST not only reminds us to act quickly, but to also be on the lookout for Balance problems, Eyes blurred, Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time everything started.


There are Different Types of AFib

While the symptoms are the same, there are actually five different kinds of AFib that medical professionals use to classify patients. From the most mildest case being paroxysmal fibrillation with symptoms presenting only a few times a year, to long-standing AFib where symptoms last more than twelve months, talk with your doctor to classify your symptoms and find the best course of treatment.


It is Treatable

Fortunately in many cases, AFib is treatable. There are medications to control the heart’s rhythm, blood thinners are often used to prevent clots from forming, surgery can make an impact, and a healthy lifestyle can often manage AFib risk factors.


The Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is equipped with top-of-the-line facilities and services to treat cardiopulmonary patients within the High Country. The Cardiology Center has AFib monitors and knowledgeable cardiologists who are able to help you manage this condition.

Have a question about how we can help you? Call the Cardiology Center at (828) 264-9664.