Social Media Empowers Afib Patients and Others

Social Media Empowers Afib Patients and Others

Atrial fibrillation can be bewildering for patients, especially when they’re first diagnosed. After all, their own hearts have betrayed them, beating out of rhythm, often leaving them exhausted, frustrated, and searching for answers. Increasingly, patients are finding these answers — along with treatment options and support — through social media. For example, Jason Mattingly, a father of three and sales man­ager from Dallas, was diagnosed with afib when he was 34. Because he wanted a treatment option that would allow him to maintain his active lifestyle, he scoured the Internet for information. After participating in conversations at the AFIBsupport Forum in Yahoo! Groups), he received numerous recommendations to seek out an ablation. After the ablation and a follow-up procedure, his heart is back to normal rhythm. Social media helped guide him to afib-free living, and it can help your patients, too. Social Media Patient Empowerment When you think of how social media relates to afib, think of it as a problem-solver. Do you have patients who are clueless about afib, making them more difficult to manage and less likely to adhere to medications? Research shows that community support works better than medication for some. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently found that social media creates empowered patients who participate in their care. September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. What better time to share some examples of how the afib patient community uses social media with patients and colleagues? (Many of these ideas can be used to empower patients with other health conditions as well.) 1. Discussion forums. Forums, such as the AFIBsupport Forum, are...

10 Atrial Fibrillation Facts That May Surprise You

September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. To help spread the word, presents these 10 afib facts and figures, a few of which will probably surprise even some healthcare professionals:  1. Afib affects lots of people. Currently as many as 5.1 million people are affected by afib — and that’s just in America. By 2050, the number of people in the United States with afib may increase to as many as 15.9 million. About 350,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. are attributed to afib. In addition, people over the age of 40 have a one in four chance of developing afib in their lifetime. 2. Afib is a leading cause of strokes. Nearly 35 percent of all afib patients will have a stroke at some time. In addition to leaving sufferers feeling weak, tired or even incapacitated, afib can allow blood to pool in the atria, creating blood clots, which may move throughout the body, causing a stroke. To make matters worse, afib strokes are fatal nearly three times as often as other strokes within the first 30 days. And according to a recent American Heart Association survey, only half of afib patients understand that they have an increased risk of stroke. 3. The U.S. Congress recognizes the need for more afib awareness. along with several other professional and patient organizations asked Congress to make September Afib Month. On September 11, 2009, the U.S. Senate declared it National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. 4. Barry Manilow has afib. Recently, Manilow spoke to Congress about afib, urging the House of Representatives to pass House Resolution 295, which seeks to raise the priority of afib in the existing research...