Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Atrial fibrillation is a disease which is related to an irregular and rapid heart rate that leads to increasing the risk of stroke, heart failure, as well as other heart-related complications.


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The process of fibrillation can be explained as the irregular heartbeat of upper two chambers that are out of coordination with the two lower chambers of the heart.


The disease has several symptoms such as heart palpitations, weakness, and shortness of breath.


There are several episodes of the disease which can come and go, or a person may develop the disease that doesn’t go away and also require the treatment. The fibrillation is not a life-threatening disease but is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.


It may also lead to complications like blood clots forming in the heart that blocked blood flow (known as ischemia).


There are several treatment options for the fibrillation such as medications and other interventions like the heart’s electrical system.




What are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?

There are several symptoms of atrial fibrillation including;

  • Palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, irregular heartbeat, uncomfortable or a flip-flopping in the chest
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath


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What are the Causes of Atrial Fibrillation?

Following are the possible causes of atrial fibrillation including;

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Heart attacks
  • Born with heart defects (congenital)
  • An overactive of the thyroid gland or any other metabolic imbalance
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Lung diseases
  • Viral infections
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Stress due to pneumonia, surgery or other illnesses
  • Sleep apnea




What are the Risk Factors of Atrial Fibrillation?

There are several risk factors for atrial fibrillation including;

1. Age- Old age, the greater risk of developing the fibrillation.


2. Heart disease- Anybody with heart diseases like heart valve problems, congestive heart failure, congenital heart disease, a history of heart attack or heart surgery, and coronary artery disease has an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.


3. High blood pressure- If a person has high blood pressure, and not controlled with lifestyle changes and medications, then he/she can increase the risk of the disease.


4. Other chronic conditions- People with certain chronic conditions like metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, diabetes, lung disease, and chronic kidney disease can have an increased risk of the disease.


5. Drinking alcohol- People who consume an excess amount of alcohol can trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation.


6. Obesity- People who are obese or have high weight are at higher risk of developing the fibrillation.




What are the Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation?

Treatment options depend on symptoms of the disease are, according to the doctor may recommend medications, surgery, or a pacemaker to get and keep the heart in a normal rhythm. Other treatment options are;

  • Medication
  • Electrical cardioversion
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Eat healthy food
  • Quit smoking
  • Stop drinking
  • Do exercise




What are the Preventions of Atrial Fibrillation?

There are preventions of atrial fibrillation including;

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Increasing your physical activity
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol or caffeine
  • Reducing stress and anger that can cause heart rhythm problems
  • Using over-the-counter medications with caution.

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As the atrial fibrillation is connected with the heart rate and other heart-related problem, it is easier to cure it by simply making modifications in some lifestyle, eating habit, and exercise.

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