Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm abnormality. Over two million Americans are thought to suffer from this arrhythmia, but many people don’t even know they have it. With this condition, the upper chambers of the heart beat rapidly and without much force. This can allow blood to pool and cause clots that could get into the brain and cause a stroke.

Now there is evidence that atrial fibrillation may double the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people under 70. Researchers collected information for more than 37,000 patients for five years. Over 10,000 developed atrial fib during that time and roughly 1,500 developed dementia. Many may have experienced silent mini-strokes that could have affected the brain. Whether aggressive treatment of this heart-rhythm abnormality would reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease remains to be determined.

[Heart Rhythm Society meeting, May, 2009]

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  1. abril p.
    Reply

    does it mean I have Atrial fibrillation? because I have arrhythmia? and I think its been a year since I ignore my symptoms. If I still ignore this is there a possibility at my age to lead this in stoke?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: There are several types of arrhythmias, not only atrial fibrillation. The doctor would need to diagnose the type of arrhythmia. We don’t know your age, but untreated atrial fibrillation sometimes does lead to stroke. We don’t recommend ignoring it.

  2. abril p.
    Reply

    I’m only 19 and I don’t know if I’m experiencing this case called Atrial fibrillation. After my ecg test the doctor learned that I have arrhythmia, this happened last year. but now I don’t pay attention with this. palpitation, hyper ventilation, shortness of breath, dizziness or feeling light-headed are the common symptoms I’ve always experiencing.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: You’re very young to be worrying about Alzheimer’s disease, but atrial fibrillation could lead to a stroke unless you take medicine to keep blood clots from forming. Ask the doctor who diagnosed you if low-dose aspirin would be a reasonable treatment. Do not ignore your symptoms for too long.

  3. Becky
    Reply

    I have had or have know that I’ve had AFIB for at least 5 years.And I’ve been on coumadin and warfarin since then. My doctor (New one) said I would have AFIB for the rest of my life. Damn I’m ONLY 51.
    I’ve also learned that it could lead to Alzheimer’s.
    I myself have been having lot of the symptoms as for forgetting things as in what I’ve said or the date or day it is, and I’ve had to let my husband do the usual things as in checkbook and meds. I get so upset when I’m around a lot a of people even. Don’t want them to see how I’m doing.
    I’ve having trouble speaking, like simple words and putting some words where or sometimes I forget what I was saying.
    I’m really scared I told my reg M.D. but he said to talk to my heart doctor or a Neurologist. Heart doctor say he hasn’t seen any papers on it. Duh?

  4. fbl
    Reply

    My heart was damaged three years ago by the shoulder harness during an auto accident. I have had problems with heart pain, blood pressure and atrial fibrillation since.
    My body simply couldn’t handle the medications given me after a mild heart attack ten months ago caused by a tiny clot in the bottom of my heart. Even the enteric coated baby aspirin caused rectal bleeding. My arteries are squeaky clean with no plaque or calcifications.
    What I’ve done is to take nattokinase and serraptase when an A-fib event is triggered and increased my daily E, Omega 3 and gingko biloba. I’ve had to watch all additives such as MSG, Aspertame, sulfites and sulfates, natural flavorings, etc. They definitely trigger an event.
    A few months ago I started adding minerals daily but found that I had to increase my digestive enzymes greatly to assimilate them. Since I added food grown magnesium, GTF Chromium, increased my zinc, and added 1200 mg of Betaine HCL with each dose I have not had an A-fib event.
    I’d tried taking other types of magnesium but they loosened my bowels. I am doing great now and as a bonus my blood pressure is terrific. No, I can’t take BP meds either as all three I’d tried over the last three years cause serious side effects. I’m still suffering from these effects one and two years later.

  5. EMB
    Reply

    At age 79 I experienced extreme weakness upon awakening, would rest or sleep 1 to 2 hours and then felt fine. I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and told I probably would have it for the rest of my life. I took the prescribed medications: Warfarin, Digitek and Aspirin. They caused blood spots to occur under my finger nails and made the ends of my fingers very tender. I discontinued Digitek and Aspirin.
    I began Acupuncture treatments at age 79 and continued monthly. I never had a reoccurence of the fatigue and now at age 84 am free of Atrial Fibrillation.
    I plan to continue the Acupuncture treatments.

  6. sh
    Reply

    Puzzling, as “Alzheimers” is a distinct disease entity distinguishable from other kinds of dementia.
    I can see why atrial fibrillation could be associated with “dementia” (resulting from reduced circulation or strokes), but not with the development of amyloid plaques which characterize Alzhemiers.
    Are you sure this is correct?

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