Some people believe that experiencing shortness of breath when climbing a flight of stairs or taking a walk may be due to the heart and not to the lack of “breath”. True or false? Dr. Maurizio Gasparini, Head of the Operational Unit of Electrophysiology and Electrostimulation at Humanitas, responds.
True. Shortness of breath and greater fatigue that appear when performing even short-term activities such as climbing the stairs or walking – explains the expert – are some of the symptoms with which the most subtle forms of silent atrial fibrillation can manifest themselves. In these forms, patients often do not report the typical symptoms of atrial fibrillation such as a sensation of arrhythmic beat, heart plunge, flicker in the chest or heart in the throat, but they may feel a sensation of dizziness, especially if the heart rate is high. When these symptoms occur, especially in older people, including the more general “lack of breath”, it is important not to underestimate them and seek medical advice. In fact, timely diagnosis of arrhythmia, due to an electrical system disorder that makes the heart beat faster and irregularly, helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, TIA (transitional ischemic attack), as well as secondary heart disease and heart failure.