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Focus On Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) happens when abnormal electrical impulses suddenly start firing in the heart's chambers. These impulses override the heart's natural pacemaker, which can no longer control the rhythm of the heart. This causes you to have a highly irregular pulse rate. It's common in people with other heart conditions, occurs more frequently for men than women and increases in prevalence with age. The NHS terms it as a heart condition rather than heart disease but it still requires a little more care when exercising and should be deemed a strong incentive to make positive lifestyle changes. People with AF can experience palpitations, fluttering or uncontrolled heart rates accompanied in some cases by tiredness, chest pain, light-headedness and breathlessness. It can be treated in a variety of ways. As AF often goes hand-in-hand with other heart related conditions, your GP will want to make sure that your overall health is not further impacted before they sign you back to exercise. For this reason, you must tell your exercise instructor if you've been diagnosed with AF. Treatments can be varied depending on the results of testing and these can impact exercise session as well. For example, you may want to spend a little longer going from lying down to standing up, or your medication may decrease your heart rate so much as to make heart-rate monitors less reliable. The British Heart Foundation says it’s unlikely that exercise will make your AF worse. CLICK HERE for the recommended lifestyle advice for people with heart conditions. If you've been diagnosed with AF, keep your exercise instructor up-to-date. You may be asked to stop exercising while new medications are being trialled or changed. Once your treatment plan is in place we can modify activities for you and support you to make those lifestyle changes which will further help prevent heart disease.


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