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What Are Atrial Fibrillation Causes?

Atrial Fibrillatio

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Numbers-wise, it’s responsible for nearly 655,000 deaths each year.

Some of the most common types include coronary artery disease, structural heart disease, and heart failure.

Then there’s atrial fibrillation. Put it simply, it’s when you have an irregular heartbeat. Left untreated, it can put you at a higher risk for heart failure or stroke.

Interested in learning more about the condition? About some atrial fibrillation causes? If so, you’re on the right page. We'll be going over everything that you need to know about it below.

So be sure to read on!

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia; it occurs when there is disrupted blood flow to the heart’s ventricles.

As it is, there are three main types—paroxysmal (symptoms come and go), persistent (symptoms last longer than 7 days), and permanent AF (symptoms last longer than a year).

Visit Afib Matters if you want to know more!

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation may not cause any symptoms at all. With that said, some people may experience breathlessness, chest pain, dizziness, or heart palpitations.

Depending on the type of AF, the symptoms may require medical intervention or resolve on its own.

Atrial Fibrillation Causes

Atrial fibrillation can be caused by various conditions such as heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and coronary artery disease.

Some medications such as corticosteroids and antineoplastic agents can also increase your risk of AF.

Risk Factors For Atrial Fibrillation

Certain risk factors can increase your risk of developing AF. These include age (the risk increases as you get older), obesity, sleep apnea, binge drinking, and metabolic syndrome.

Individuals with a family history of atrial fibrillation will also be at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Potential Complications

Atrial fibrillation can cause a number of life-threatening health issues. For example, it can cause blood clots, which can lead to strokes. Symptoms include weakness on one side of the body, speech difficulties, and vision problems.

In addition to that, it can cause heart failure, especially when the heart rate is high. Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t occur overnight—that is, it develops over time.

Treating Atrial Fibrillation

The good news is that there are treatments available. For example, your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers, sodium channel blockers, or calcium channel blockers to help with your heart rate.

Surgery is also an option for chronic or severe AF. Some common procedures include catheter ablation, electrical cardioversion, and surgical ablation.

Given their invasiveness, however, they're typically recommended as the last resort.

Understanding Atrial Fibrillation

As you can see, there are a few atrial fibrillation causes. When in doubt, visit a doctor—they'll be able to help you with your symptoms!

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