The Link Between AFib and Lack of Energy
AFib can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, or it can be virtually undetectable in your everyday life. But while this heart disorder is known to affect people differently, frequent and noticeable lack of energy is a very common complaint.
Unfortunately, the nature of the disease sets the stage for exhaustion, but the amount of fatigue you feel can rest on the frequency of your AFib episodes, how you carry out your everyday routine, and the habits and hobbies you choose.
Once you understand how your AFib may be sapping your energy, learn what you can do to counteract the exhausting effects of an irregular heartbeat.
How AFib Saps Energy
Simply put, your heart works overtime during an AFib episode, and overworked muscles lead to fatigue. However, the specific mechanisms at play can explain the muscle strain more accurately, so you can turn your attention to the root cause of your energy trouble:
Rapid Heart Rate
Although you may not feel it, your heart is under a lot of stress during an AFib episode. While healthy atria contract between 60 and 80 times a minute, AFib forces these chambers to quiver up to 400 times each minute.
The AV node tries to regulate this overexertion, but it can’t stop all the extra electrical impulses from reaching the ventricles. In turn, the ventricle beats too often, and the heart behaves as if you’re running a marathon. Not surprisingly, breathlessness and fatigue will follow.
Poor Blood Movement
Healthy atria contract regularly and efficiently: with one big push, each atrium moves the blood into the ventricles, and from there is gets pumped through the rest of the body. During AFib, the atrial chambers flutter instead of contract completely, and that means not all of the blood makes it into the ventricles at once.
Since blood carries oxygen to energize your tissues, your muscles and organs can run out of fuel when it doesn’t move through your heart the way it is supposed to.
In many cases, AFib is brought on by another chronic condition that may have caused damage, or gone untreated for a long time. Although the biggest risk factors seem to be advanced age, high blood pressure, and heart disease, other health issues can sap your energy and trigger AFib at the same time.
COPD, alcohol abuse, sleep apnea, asthma, and thyroid disorders can all lead to heart rhythm disorders, and since they also cause fatigue and malaise, patients may experience a double dose of exhaustion.
Next page: lifestyle changes to restore your energy.