Arterial Fibrillation: Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Arterial fibrillation is a condition where there is irregular heartbeat (usually rapid heartbeat) because the atrium beat at irregular intervals losing its coordination with the ventricle. The increased heart rate increases the risk of heart failure.


  • Occasional in which symptoms come and go lasting for few minutes to few hours
  • Persistent in which symptoms don’t go on their own and needs some medication to manage.
  • Long-standing persistent in which the arterial fibrillation is continuous and lasts for more than 12 months.
  • Permanent, when abnormal heart rhythm cannot be restored.

Symptoms :


Usually, people who suffer from arterial fibrillation don’t experience any symptoms, and this condition is detected only during the examination, but few people experience symptoms which are:

  • Pain in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations, a sense of irregular beating of the heart
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Reduced ability to do exercises
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion

Causes :

Risk factors :

  • Age the older people the more prone they become to develop arterial fibrillation
  • People with cardiac ailments are more likely to develop this condition
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Substance abuse

People suffering from chronic disease such as diabetes, thyroid ailments, kidney or lungs diseases are at increased risk of developing arterial fibrillation.

Prevention :

  • Cutting down alcohol and tobacco consumption
  • Managing weight
  • Include exercise and physical activities in daily routine
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Avoid medication over the counter as few medicines for cough and cold triggers arterial fibrillation

Complications :

  • Cardiac stroke, because of uncoordinated movements of the atrium with the ventricle increase the risk of formation of blood clots, this blood clot if can block the flow of blood causing a stroke
  • Heart failure, due to arterial fibrillation the heart muscles tend to weaken leading to heart failure.

When to see a doctor :

If you experience any symptoms as described above, do visit a doctor. If you experience pain in the heart along with the above symptoms rush to the emergency.

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