Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is more common in elderly people. It is estimated that the risk for developing the condition, for both men and women over age 40, is approximately 25 percent.
Multiple risk factors are linked to atrial fibrillation, including:
• Advanced age
• Alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking
• Congestive heart failure
• Family history of the condition
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Lung diseases
• Sleep apnea
• Stimulant exposure (caffeine, tobacco, and allergy, cold, and sinus medications)
• Strenuous activity and exercise
• Stress due to surgery, pneumonia, or other illnesses
• Thyroid problems, particularly hyperthyroidism
• Viral infections
I have seen many patients develop atrial fibrillation from drinking too much alcohol. In medical school, we referred to this condition as “holiday heart.”
I have also witnessed atrial fibrillation triggered from consuming too many caffeinated beverages and taking allergy and cold medications.
There is also a fairly common occurrence of atrial fibrillation in people who have no risk factors. This is referred to as lone atrial fibrillation.
In such cases, the cause is unknown, and the condition will often spontaneously resolve.
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