Did you know that atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common heart arrhythmia? To be more precise, it is particularly observed in the elderly human population and the number of patients with atrial fibrillation is actually growing worldwide.
The condition is characterized by an uncoordinated heart rate that significantly increases the patient’s risk for stroke and other cardiovascular issues. Plus, the effects atrial fibrillation has on health can be felt in the long term since the quality of life of a patient can reduce remarkably.
Yet, the increased risk of stroke, which can be fatal, is a major concern. Therefore, the condition has gained lots of medical attention and doctors are constantly trying to explore its causes, as well as, potential treatment options. One notable connection they found is the one between inflammation and atrial fibrillation.
For that reason, this article will focus on what researchers have found out. So, continue reading to find out everything needed about the relationship between inflammation and atrial fibrillation.
What is Inflammation?
Namely, when the skin gets inflamed we can easily notice it as red and painful swellings appear accompanied by a burning sensation. But, what happens when there’s inflammation inside the body, at the cellular level?
In fact, inflammation occurs as a response of the body’s defense mechanism. Typically, the defense cells (i.e. white blood cells) encircle the place of invasion and try to fight against the invaders. At the same time, even though white blood cells try to protect the body, they can sometimes harm the body’s cells and tissue which leads to inflammation.
Furthermore, based on the situation and the severity of inflammation, it can be short or long-lasting. In severe cases, the body’s defense mechanism turns against the body’s cells and this inflammation usually lasts longer, and of course, requires medical treatment.
What’s the Link between Atrial Fibrillation and Inflammation?
According to studies, both local and system inflammation increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Local inflammation is the one that occurs within heart tissues, whereas system inflammation is the inflammation within other body organs. In addition, inflamed tissues can cause cardiovascular diseases which then interfere with the heart and slow down the heart rate. And, this direct influence can notably enhance the development of atrial fibrillation.
But, that’s not all! Researchers have also found out that patients who suffer from chronic inflammation as a result of infections, like pneumonia, for example, experience atrial fibrillation episodes more frequently. The truth is, in most cases, a person who has any type of internal inflammation is at greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation when compared to those who don’t have any inflamed tissue.
Also, researchers pointed out that as atrial fibrillation progresses, i.e. as the condition worsens and becomes more severe, there’s also an increase in ‘biomarkers’ – chemicals that recruit white blood cells. Therefore, we can easily conclude that the last findings suggest that high inflammation levels can enhance the progress of atrial fibrillation and make it more prominent.
Without a shadow of a doubt, research and evidence have made it clear that inflammation can affect atrial fibrillation. Plus, it means that if the inflammation can be abated and put under control, the progress of atrial fibrillation can also be decreased. That’s why anti-inflammatory medications have been used in treating atrial fibrillation.