an ECG that may be used to identify the causes of atrial fibrillation

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (or afib) occurs when the function of the four chambers of the heart get out of step, producing irregularities in heartbeat. In addition to well-documented causes of atrial fibrillation, recent research has found a number of ways this condition can occur. Fortunately, some of these recently found causes are quite preventable.

Causes

The classic risk factors of atrial fibrillation include high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, previous heart attacks, previous heart surgery, and malformations of heart valves, according to the Mayo Clinic. The clinic also points out that there are afib causes not associated with heart problems, such as lung disease, thyroid function problems, sleep apnea, viral diseases, and other illnesses that put bodily systems under stress. There are certain substances that can cause atrial fibrillation, including alcohol, caffeine, a variety of stimulants, and some medications.

University of California at San Francisco researchers have found that using a standard heart monitor to detect premature atrial contractions in patients can predict the likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation. That relationship can offer an earlier point of intervention, helping a patient to avoid the progression to frequent or regular bouts of atrial fibrillation. Recent research, according to Stanford Hospital, has revealed some important preventable afib causes, including dehydration and fatigue. Sometimes, emotional states can trigger atrial fibrillation, as can hormonal imbalances.

Exercise can trigger atrial fibrillation, proving that it's important to consult a physician before changing fitness routines. According to the University of Utah, obesity and stress are also atrial fibrillation causes. Some studies have revealed that men are more prone to atrial fibrillation overall, but there are risk solely experienced by women, such as those associated with menopause.

Prevention

The good news that new research reveals is that there is a lot that the average person can do to reduce the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Actively seek strategies to manage stress and powerful emotions, such as through meditation and lifestyle changes that reduce stress and negative emotions. Trade processed foods for whole foods rich in nutrients. Gradually shift from a sedentary lifestyle to one that is more active under the guidance of your health care professionals. Work towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Try to get enough sleep on a daily basis. All of these things will benefit health on every level.