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Patient Care

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Atrial Fibrillation

The degree of symptoms suffered with atrial fibrillation is different for each individual. Some patients complain of disabling symptoms, while others have no symptoms at all. Common symptoms of atrial fibrillation include 10

  • Palpitations or a “fluttering sensation”
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to tolerate physical activity
  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

The exact cause of AF is not known, however, many conditions have been found to increase the incidence of developing AF. AF has been shown to be most common in persons over the age of 65. Other risk factors include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Being Overweight
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Coronary Artery Disease or previous Heart Attack
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Thyroid Disorders

Certain lifestyle choices also increase your risk for AF, including drinking too much alcolhol or caffeine. 10


10 ”Living with Atrial Fibrillation.” American Heart Association [Internet]. ©2006 [cited 2008 Feb 11]