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Published 2018-03-02
Changed 2019-01-27

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a commonly occurring heart rhythm abnormality. Atrial fibrillation involves irregular heartbeats that are usually faster than normal. One in four people over the age of 40 develops atrial fibrillation, but not everybody experiences symptoms. You can live a normal life with atrial fibrillation when it is properly treated. The treatment includes not only the control of the abnormal heart beats but also the prevention of clots formation which can cause s stroke.

When are you at risk of atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation can develop when the electrical circuits of your heart become damaged and no longer function properly. This damage may be associated with [1]:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Habitual vigorous exercise
  • Advancing age

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Do(es) one or more of these risk factors apply to you? Please visit your doctor and ask for advice.