Is it common for your heart rate to speed up or fluctuate suddenly? Maybe you’ve noticed lightheadedness, chest pain, or shortness of breath too.
If so, you might have atrial fibrillation. This irregular heartbeat causes 600,000 ER visits every year. It’s surprisingly common, yet is still poorly known today.
You might have no signs of atrial fibrillation right now, but it can develop over time. This heart condition can lead to other problems like heart failure if left untreated.
You may have an underlying condition and not even know it. So what are some common causes of atrial fibrillation? Keep reading to learn more about what causes atrial fibrillation.
The Heart’s Electrical System
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia or heart rhythm disorder. It occurs when the heart’s electrical impulses become rapid and irregular, causing the heart to beat very fast and out of sync.
The electrical system controls the timing of the heart’s contractions. If there is a problem with the electrical system, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or irregular.
These signals can be caused by a number of things, including stress, alcohol, smoking, and certain medications. Learn more about atrial fibrillation with afibmatters.org.
Abnormal Heart Tissue
Abnormal heart tissue can be located in the atria, the ventricles, or both. When this tissue is damaged or diseased, it can no longer conduct electrical impulses properly. This results in an irregular heartbeat, which can be very dangerous.
Abnormal heart tissue is caused by prior heart surgery, a heart attack, or heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, or cardiomyopathy. Over time, it can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.
Excess of Adrenaline
Adrenaline is a hormone that is released in response to stress. It speeds up the heart rate and can cause the heart to beat erratically. When the body produces too much adrenaline, it can cause the heart to beat too fast and irregularly. This can lead to a number of problems, including blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.
Problems With the Heart’s Valves
The valves are responsible for regulating blood flow through the heart, and when they don’t work properly, it can cause the heart to beat erratically. Valve problems can be caused by a variety of things, including heart disease, genetic abnormalities, and even certain medications.
Outside Factors and Other Causes of Atrial Fibrillation
Other common causes of atrial fibrillation include smoking, excess alcohol consumption, or stress. It can be caused by a lung disease or thyroid disorder. In rare cases, atrial fibrillation may be caused by a tumor or other growth on the heart.
No matter what the cause, atrial fibrillation is a serious condition that can lead to stroke or other complications. If you think you may be at Afib risk factors, be sure to talk to your doctor.
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