Dr. Shukla explains why it is common for women with atrial fibrillation not to experience the symptoms.
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Why is it common for a woman with atrial fibrillation to not experience symptoms? Dr. Himanshu H. Shukla: Any patient with atrial fibrillation can have what we call symptomatic atrial fibrillation or asymptomatic atrial fibrillation where they do not feel episodes. It’s actually a crossover. So all patients with symptomatic episodes will have periods where they feel no symptoms at all. The thought process behind that is that sometimes if the heart rate does not go fast enough, somebody may not perceive the symptoms, but very commonly you can have asymptomatic atrial fibrillation, and I actually feel that that is probably worse than having symptomatic atrial fibrillation. Even though the symptoms can be very debilitating, at least it alerts a patient to seek medical attention so the right steps can be implemented to try and prevent a bad outcome from happening from the atrial fibrillation. Generally, if the patient can’t feel that they’re having atrial fibrillation, medical attention is not sought after, and it can become a catastrophic event or a life-altering event as the first manifestation of the atrial fibrillation.