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      Your Heart Skips a Beat, is it Love or Atrial Fibrillation?

      Your Heart Skips a Beat– Is it Love?

      It is once again that time of the year---Valentine’s Day. It’s a time when our hearts flutter or skip a beat because of the love we have for somebody…but what if that skipped, irregular heart beat is a sign of something more serious...atrial fibrillation?

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      It is once again that time of the year---Valentine’s Day. It’s a time when our hearts flutter or skip a beat because of the love we have for somebody…but what if that skipped, irregular heart beat is a sign of something more serious...atrial fibrillation?

      What is atrial fibrillation?

      Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. Certain cells in your heart make electric signals that cause the heart to contract and pump blood. In atrial fibrillation (AFib), the heart’s two small upper chambers (atria) don’t beat the way they should. Instead of beating in a normal pattern, the atria beat irregularly and too fast, quivering like a bowl of gelatin. It is estimated that at least 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

      The cause of atrial fibrillation is not always known, however it can be the result of uncontrolled high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or a complication from heart surgery. No matter the cause, the most serious risk is that it can lead to other medical problems including:

      • Stroke
      • Heart failure
      • Chronic fatigue
      • Additional heart rhythm problems
      • Inconsistent blood supply

      Who is at risk for atrial fibrillation?

      Anyone can develop atrial fibrillation, but typically people who have one or more of the following conditions are at greater risk of AFib:

      • Advanced age
      • High blood pressure
      • Underlying heart disease
      • Drinking alcohol
      • Family history
      • Sleep apnea
      • Athletes
      • Other chronic conditions – thyroid problems, diabetes, asthma

      What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

      People with atrial fibrillation may not have any symptoms and their condition is only detectable upon physical examination. Still others may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

      • General fatigue
      • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
      • Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest
      • Dizziness
      • Shortness of breath and anxiety
      • Weakness
      • Faintness or confusion
      • Fatigue when exercising
      • Sweating
      • Chest pain or pressure*

      How is atrial fibrillation treated?

      Treatment of atrial fibrillation begins with a proper diagnosis through an in-depth examination from your healthcare provider. After a diagnosis, treatment goals will include restoring normal heart rhythms, reducing heart rate, preventing blood clots, managing stroke risk factors and preventing heart failure.

      You can live with AFib. While nothing in life is guaranteed, you and your healthcare provider can work together to reduce your risk of stroke and other complications from AFib.

      For more detailed information on atrial fibrillation, visit the American Heart Association website. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation

      Ann Anderson, FNP has focused on the practice of general cardiology for nearly 20 years. She is a board-certified ANCC family nurse practitioner and is a certified cardiac device specialist with the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examinations. Joining the Kimball Health Services team in 2016, Ann sees family practice patients at the Pine Bluffs Health Clinic and offers cardiology clinics at both the Kimball and Pine Bluffs clinics.

      *Chest pain or pressure is a medical emergency. You may be having a heart attack. Call 911 immediately.

       

      What is a Board-Certified Hand Surgeon?

      Hand Surgeon

      Take a look at your hands.  They are a marvel of nature; made up of bones, joints, ligament, tendons, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels which all must work together to do the most delicate of tasks.   So much of what you do every day depends on your ability to use your hands – opening a door, drinking your morning coffee, tying your child’s shoes, working at a computer, driving and so much more.

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      Take a look at your hands.  They are a marvel of nature; made up of bones, joints, ligament, tendons, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels which all must work together to do the most delicate of tasks.   So much of what you do every day depends on your ability to use your hands – opening a door, drinking your morning coffee, tying your child’s shoes, working at a computer, driving and so much more.

      Just like other parts of your body your hands can be affected by disease, birth defects and traumatic injury, and when something goes wrong, it can be debilitating. Physicians who treat problems of the hand are known as hand surgeons. A board-certified hand surgeon receives specialized training in treatment of the hand. This training is above and beyond the training they receive as a plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon or in general surgery. Physicians spend a full year in this specialized additional training in the area of hand surgery and must pass a rigorous certification examination in order to receive board certification from the American Society of Surgery of the Hand.

      Conditions treated by a board-certified hand surgeon can include problems of the elbow, arm and shoulder. Other conditions include:

      • Carpal tunnel syndrome
      • Tennis elbow
      • Wrist pain
      • Traumatic injuries to the hand, wrist and forearm
      • Trigger finger
      • Arthritis
      • Nerve and tendon injury
      • Birth defects

      Hand surgeons do not have to treat all problems with surgery. They often recommend non-surgical treatments such as medication, splints, therapy and injections.

      If you are experiencing any sort of pain or discomfort or have suffered an injury to your hands, wrists or arms, it is worth your time to discuss your issues with a board-certified hand surgeon.

      Dr. Wyatt is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, board-certified hand surgeon and board-certified general surgeon with over 30 years of experience. He is affiliated with Kimball Health Services and sees patients in Kimball, Nebraska and Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. For an appointment at either location, call (308) 235-1953.

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