Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

In many cases, doctors can identify the causes of atrial fibrillation. Most people who have atrial fibrillation already have some form of heart or vascular disease. Some of the specific things that can lead to atrial fibrillation include certain medical conditions (such as abnormally high blood pressure), surgery, alcohol abuse, smoking, and stimulant chemicals (such as caffeine or cocaine).

An Introduction to the Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

The causes of atrial fibrillation aren't always known, and many people who develop the condition already live a healthy lifestyle and don't have any other health concerns. In most cases, however, the cause is known. Some of the more common atrial fibrillation causes include:
  • Heart problems
  • Surgery
  • Other medical conditions
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stimulant chemicals.
It is also known that atrial fibrillation is more common in men than in women, and the condition is also more common in the elderly.

Heart Problems

Most people who have atrial fibrillation already have some form of heart or vascular disease.
Common heart problems that cause atrial fibrillation include:
  • Hypertensive heart disease, which can occur as a result of untreated high blood pressure
  • Rheumatic heart disease, which occurs when rheumatic fever causes damage to the heart
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition in which abnormal electrical activity in the heart causes a rapid heart rate
  • Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, which are occasional bursts of rapid heart rate that start in the atria
  • Angina, which is chest pain that may also radiate to the shoulder and down the arm
  • Congenital heart problems
  • Cardiomyopathies, which are diseases that damage the heart muscle
  • Problems with the heart valves
  • Infection in the heart or the pericardium, which is the sac surrounding the heart
  • Tumors of the heart and pericardium.
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Atrial Fibrillation Information

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