(NC) You already know the basic tenets of heart health include eating right, getting lots of exercise and managing stress. For some, keeping on top of your heart health is easy, but if you’re one of the estimated 350,000 Canadians with atrial fibrillation (AFib) this can be more challenging, as your heart can literally skip a beat without you even knowing.

AFib is an irregular heartbeat disorder that can lead to severe and debilitating strokes, increasing your risk by three to five times. This is why it’s so important to take steps to understand your risk and protect yourself. Fortunately, there are ways you can manage the condition and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Treating AFib with oral anticoagulants has shown to reduce the risk of stroke. But as with all anticoagulants, their blood-thinning effects pose a rare but increased risk of bleeding in an emergency.

One of the newer treatment options is now the first and only oral anticoagulant to have a specific antidote for emergency situations. The antidote stops the blood-thinning effects of this particular anticoagulant if there is a need for emergency surgery or urgent procedure or uncontrolled or life-threatening bleeding.

Be proactive and ask your doctor for more information.