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treatments to lower your risk of stroke

overview

If you have a condition called atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib), you have a 500% higher risk of stroke compared to a person with no AF. Your risk of having a stroke is also higher if you have atrial flutter, an arrhythmia that causes fast heart rates. 

Your risk of stroke shouldn’t be ignored. Without prompt medical care, a stroke can cause problems with speech, movement or memory. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. today.

services & treatment

If you have AF, your health care team will work closely with you to determine the cause for it, which can guide your treatment. 

We’ll help you find and avoid triggers that lead to your AF episodes. Many people find their AF is linked to activities such as exercise, eating large meals, drinking alcohol, bending over or coughing. Medications used for colds or allergies that contain decongestants can also trigger episodes.

Many AF patients take blood thinners, which help lower the blood’s ability to form clots. Options include warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), which requires you have regular blood tests to regulate your dosage. There are also newer anticoagulation drugs – rivaroxaban or dabigatran, for example – that don’t require blood testing. 

If anticoagulants don’t work for you, you might benefit from devices such as the Lariat and Watchman, which help filter blood clots from the left (arterial) side of the heart and lower the risk that any clots will travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

Other medications may be used to treat AF. The goal of AF treatment with medications is either to control pulse rate (called rate control) during AF, to reduce the number of episodes (rhythm control) or both. 

Ablation is another option to help manage AF and reduce your risk for stroke. The AF Ablation Center doctors are part of the Atrial Fibrillation Center. Talk with your doctor to determine which option is right for you.

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