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Rapid heartbeat? It may be A-FIB: The symptoms and treatments available, plus how you can check your heart health for free

EL PASO, Texas -- On average, the human heart beats 100,000 times a day. But sometimes with age, the beat can become erratic. It's a condition known as atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib.

Dr. Steven Hamilton, a electrophysiologist with The Hospitals of Providence, talked with ABC-7 about the causes of, and treatments for A-Fib.

"Afib is the most common arrythmia diagnosis," said Hamilton. "It more often occurs in older people but we do see younger people with it as well. Symptoms people often times will feel are heart palpitations or feel like their heart is racing out of the ordinary. They may also feel weakness or lightheadedness. And people may experience different episodes that come and go."

Doctor Hamilton says there are various factors that can cause A-Fib. "It can be family history, obesity, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure. Lifestyle factors can also increase your risk, such as misuse of alcohol or caffeine. High stress level can also play a factor."

There are two ways that A-Fib can be treated, according to Hamilton. "Afib is very treatable through medications or procedures to reset the rhythm. The important thing is recognizing the signs and seeking help to reduce complications from occurring such as a stroke or heart failure."

Hamilton encourages people to see their doctor if they experience any of the symptoms.

The Hospitals of Providence also invites El Pasoans to get a free heart health check. The event will be held on Saturday, February 27 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Hospitals of Providence Specialty Campus at 1755 Curie Drive. The check also includes blood pressure and glucose checks and a body mass index screening. Advance registration is required and spaces are limited due to social distancing. You can register now by calling 844-367-5656, or going to thehospitalsofprovidence.com/events.

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Mark Ross

Mark Ross is an anchor/producer for ABC-7.

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