Atrial Fibrillation: Are You at Risk?
HealthAfter50 | Sep 16th 2016 Oct 19th 2016
What to know
Multiple factors can contribute to the development of the abnormal functioning of the heart’s upper chambers, which leads to the sensation of a fast, irregular, and chaotic heartbeat. The condition, atrial fibrillation (also known as AF or AFib), affects 2.6 million Americans.
Your age is a key factor—atrial fibrillation is rare before age 50, whereas 1 in 10 people age 80 have it.
If a first-degree relative (sibling or parent) has atrial fibrillation, there’s a doubling of the likelihood that other members of the family will develop it.
Gender and race
Atrial fibrillation is also more common in men than in women, and it is more common in whites than blacks.
Although some alcohol consumption may help protect against heart disease, your heart may pay a price if you drink excessively. That’s because heavy alcohol intake may affect the structure and size of the heart.
Your risk of developing atrial fibrillation may rise in tandem with your weight. More and more data has confirmed the link between obesity and AFib.
Having sleep apnea
Atrial fibrillation is very common in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. But once diagnosed, treatment of sleep apnea helps control Afib.