Atrial Fibrillation – Causes and Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a disease of the heart where the heart rhythm is irregular and rapid. This irregular rhythm is a result of abnormal electrical impulses in the heart which can be continuous.This type of heart disorder is common with advance in age and this may cause fatigue and stroke. Episodes of atrial fibrillation can occur with time and reduce or a person can suffer a chronic atrial fibrillation.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
The possible causes of this heart disease include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Exposure to stimulants like caffeine, tobacco or alcohol
  • Emphysema
  • Viral infections
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • An overactive thyroid or other metabolic imbalance
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Stress due to pneumonia, surgery or other illnesses

Other Factors
Some of the factors that cause atrial fibrillation include:

Age: The older a person is, the greater the risk of developing this disorder.
Heart disease: A person suffering from any heart disease including valve problems or heart surgeries has an increased risk.
High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk of this disease.
Alcoholism: Drinking alcohol can also trigger atrial fibrillation.
Other chronic diseases: People suffering from sleep apnea and other medical problems have an increased risk of this disease.
Family history: In some families, there is an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
When the heart does not beat efficiently, it may not be able to pump blood to the other parts of your body. Some people have no symptoms but their condition is diagnosed during a physical examination. The symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Palpitations
  • Racing, uncomfortable and an irregular heartbeat
  • A feeling of flopping in the chest
  • Lack of energy

When to consult your doctor?
When you find these symptoms of atrial fibrillation, make an appointment with your doctor as he/she may diagnose the case and start further treatment.

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