Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, affecting 350,000 Canadians, so know you are not alone. It’s important to understand the risks with having AFib. Unfortunately, AFib can lead to severe and debilitating strokes so it’s up to you to discuss stroke prevention with your doctor.
Some people learn they have AFib through a regular check-up with their physician. Others may receive their diagnosis in the emergency room. Either way, getting the news can be frightening – especially learning about its connection to stroke. Some physicians prescribe a blood thinner (or anticoagulant) to lower your risk of stroke as it can be raised by three to five times for those with AFib.
There are several different blood thinners and rate control medications available in Canada to reduce to the risk of stroke in patients who have AFib, and it’s important to speak with your healthcare professional about the most appropriate option for you.
Here are some things to consider when you speak with your physician:
- Do I need to be on a blood thinner to protect myself from stroke?
- What are the differences between the blood thinners?
- What happens if I need to temporarily stop the effects of my blood thinner? For example, if I was injured or sick and needed urgent medical attention or surgery.