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What Does an AFib Episode Feel Like?

What Does an AFib Episode Feel Like?

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AFib) can vary significantly from one individual to another. Some people have subtle symptoms, while others find their AFib episodes hard to ignore. Also, some individuals have frequent attacks, while others might experience symptoms sporadically.

Our team at Healthstone Primary Care specializes in primary and geriatric care services designed to meet your needs. That includes alerting you to symptoms and conditions affecting your long-term health.

We’re happy to provide insight regarding what you might experience during an AFib episode and why treatment is crucial.

What are the symptoms of AFib?

Symptoms of AFib may include:


The sensation that your heart is fluttering, quivering, or pounding is perhaps the most common symptom of AFib. Many people describe feeling like a fish is flopping or butterflies are taking flight in their chest.

Rapid heartbeat

A healthy heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. When you’re exercising or feeling stressed, your heartbeat may temporarily rise. However, AFib can cause your heart to beat irregularly at a high speed (110 to 175 beats per minute) for no apparent reason.

Chest pain or pressure

Not everyone with AFib experiences chest pain. However, pain or pressure occurring along with arrhythmia can indicate your heart is struggling to keep up with your body’s demands. The discomfort may range from mild to intense pain.

Other symptoms of AFib include:

Many individuals also report experiencing significant anxiety related to the fear of having another AFib episode.

What causes AFib?

Your heart has four chambers that contract and relax in a synchronized pattern as they pump blood through the heart to the body. The beat is controlled by your heart’s electrical system, starting in a cluster of tissues (sinus node) in the right upper chamber.

The irregular and often rapid heart rhythm associated with atrial fibrillation originates in the two upper chambers (atria). Problems with the heart’s electrical system cause the atria to beat out of sync with the lower heart chambers (ventricles). That leads to AFib symptoms.

There are several known causes and risk factors for AFib, including:

Sometimes, AFib develops without reason and may be identified as lone or idiopathic AFib.

Treating AFib

AFib itself might not be life-threatening. However, it can lead to severe complications like stroke or heart failure.

Managing AFib typically involves controlling your heart rate, converting the heart rhythm to normal, and preventing blood clots.

Your strategy may include medication, lifestyle changes such as reducing caffeine intake, or treatments to manage an underlying condition such as hypothyroidism.

Schedule an evaluation at Healthstone Primary Care today for more information about diagnosing and treating AFib. Call the office in Weston, Pembroke Pines, or Davie, Florida, or request an appointment online.

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