August 28, 2015

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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

What are the risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation (AFib)?

There are many risk factors for developing AFib. These risk factors are:

  • Increased age (1% of people over 60 years of age have AFib)
  • Coronary heart disease (including heart attack)
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart muscle function (including congestive heart failure)
  • Disease of the mitral valve between the left and right ventricle
  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or overdose of thyroid medication
  • Low amounts of oxygen in the blood, for example, as occurs with lung diseases such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Inflammation of the lining surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
  • Blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
  • Chronic lung diseases (emphysema, asthma, COPD)
  • Excessive intake of alcohol (alcoholism)
  • Stimulant drug use such as cocaine or decongestants
  • Recent heart or lung surgery
  • Abnormal heart structure from the time of birth (congenital heart disease)

About 1 in 10,000 otherwise healthy, young adults have atrial fibrillation without any apparent cause or underlying heart disease. AFib in these individuals usually is intermittent, but can become chronic in 25%. This condition is referred to as lone AFib. Stress, alcohol, tobacco, or use of stimulants may play a role in causing lone AFib. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 5/27/2015
Atrial Fibrillation Quiz