Winter 2012
You Could You Have Atrial Fibrillation—and Not Know It!

According to the American Heart Association, more than two million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation (a-fib). Half of those who have a-fib don’t even know it. Why does that matter? Because a-fib is one of the leading causes of stroke.

Risk factors include:
  • Age, especially 65 or older
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease, including heart attack, valve problems and previous heart surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Obesity

“When it comes to preventing a-fib-related stroke, it’s important to talk to your doctor, understand your risk and monitor your pulse regularly,” advises Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute Chief of Cardiology Stuart Zarich, MD.

Dr. Zarich recommends the following guidelines:
Age Recommendation
30–50 If you have two or more risk factors (see above), learn how to take your pulse (call toll free 1-888-BH-PULSE). If your heart is skipping a beat, talk to your doctor. Have an EKG test approximately every five years.
51–64 If you have one or more risk factors (see above), see your doctor.
65+ No risk factors necessary. Talk to your doctor annually or more frequently about your heart health.


If you’re concerned about your risk, speak with your doctor. For an expert physician affiliated with Bridgeport Hospital, please call 1-800-794-5013.
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