AFib and stroke: What you should know

3D image of heartCould chest pains, fatigue and dizziness lead to a stroke?

These leading symptoms of atrial fibrillation affect more than 5 million people around the country and could lead to an increased risk for stroke and a decreased quality of life.

AFib is the heart condition occurring when the heart's chambers malfunction, causing an irregular heartbeat and pooling blood in the atria. Blood clots can form in this back-up and possibly reach the brain, blocking the flow of oxygenated blood, causing a stroke.

"While symptomatic coronary disease can be more common in the winter months, AFib has a year-round prevalence as a heart rhythm that can come and go," said Dr. M. Cameron Willoughby, a cardiac electrophysiologist with McLaren Macomb. "It's critical to address this condition and not disregard any symptoms. It could lead to something very serious."

AFib can also cause shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and weakness. However, the condition and its symptoms can be controlled with medication and treated through non-invasive procedures.

"It is very possible to live a fulfilling life after an AFib diagnosis," Dr. Willoughby said. "But it's imperative not to ignore any symptoms and make an appointment with your cardiologist if you suspect anything."

To make an appointment with a McLaren Macomb cardiologist, visit