A flutter of the heart can sometimes be a good thing; it happens when we see someone we love, when we receive good news or when we have the chance to sit down and connect with an old friend.
Other times, a racing heart is a signal that’s something isn’t quite right. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to serious heart-related complications, including blood clots, stroke or heart failure.
Men are more likely to develop AFib a whole decade earlier than women, and being overweight is a major contributing factor. Learn about what causes AFib and how you can protect your heart — or help someone you love improve their heart health.
Risk Factors for AFib
Anyone can develop AFib, but there are certain situations or conditions that can put you at increased risk. You should be especially mindful of the dangers of AFib if you’re an athlete, are 50 or older, are overweight or if you overuse alcohol. Other contributing factors are:
- Family History of AFib
- Personal History of Heart Attack
- Asthma, Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism or Sleep Apnea
- Related Heart Conditions Like Heart Valve Problems or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
- Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome
Symptoms of AFib
Some people don’t experience any AFib symptoms at all. Others may experience more common symptoms such as:
- Chest Pain or Pressure
- Dizziness, Faintness or Confusion
- Fatigue While Exercising
- Fluttering or Thumping in the Chest
- Rapid, Irregular Heartbeat
- Shortness of Breath
Manage AFib, Improve Your Whole Health
AFib impacts more than your heart health: It can lead to serious conditions that impact every aspect of your life, and may even be life-threatening. When left unmanaged, AFib can double your risk of heart-related death and increase your stroke risk five times. Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider (PCP) today to better understand your risk for AFib.