Understand Your Risk

Understand Your Risk


Are you at risk for atrial fibrillation? (AFib or AF)


Any person, ranging from children to adults, can develop atrial fibrillation. Because the likelihood of AFib increases with age and people are living longer today, medical researchers predict the number of AFib cases will rise dramatically over the next few years. Even though AFib clearly increases the risks of heart-related death and stroke, many patients do not fully recognize the potentially serious consequences.


Who is at higher risk?


Typically people who have one or more of the following conditions are at higher risk for AFib:

  • Athletes: AFib is common in athletes and can be triggered by a rapid heart rate called a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
  • Advanced age: The number of adults developing AFib increases markedly with older age. Atrial fibrillation in children is rare, but it can and does happen.
  • Underlying heart disease: Anyone with heart disease, including valve problems, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, acute coronary syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome and history of heart attack. Additionally, atrial fibrillation is the most common complication after heart surgery.
  • High blood pressure: Longstanding, uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk for AFib.
  • Drinking alcohol: Binge drinking (having five drinks in two hours for men, or four drinks for women) may put you at higher risk for AFib.
  • Sleep apnea: Although sleep apnea isn’t proven to cause AFib, studies show a strong link between obstructive sleep apnea and AFib. Often, treating the apnea can improve AFib.
  • Family history: Having a family member with AFib increases your chances of being diagnosed.
  • Other chronic conditions: Others at risk are people with thyroid problems, diabetes, asthma and other chronic medical problems.

Recent Discussions From The Newly Diagnosed Forum
masheely avatar

I was recently diagnosed with AFib and may need an ablation or two. How much time did you have to take off work after the procedure to heal? What can I expect having an ablation procedure? 

BobbaLee avatar

8 weeks ago I was diagnosed with AFIB. I retained a lot of fluid which I lost while in the hospsital due to the constant IV Diuretics I lost 15 pounds of water. Now at home I regained 10 pounds even though I am only eating less than 1800 calories per day and trying to drink less than 40 ozs of fluid.. My Doctor just upped my Furosemide 20 mg to 4 tablets a day.

I just had my first succesful cardioversion and out of AFIB for now. Any ideas to hasten the fluid loss? It can be very uncomfortable. Thanks

yollicsa avatar

I went to the ER at approx. 8:00 PM Friday, 7/13/18 with an odd feeling in my chest and a heart rate averaging 164 BPM up to 189, per my Polar HRM.  Diagnosed as being in AFib VERY quickly by ER staff.  I converted to sinus rhythm about 4.5 hrs later (12:30 AM) and then went back into AFib about 17 hours later for a short time.  I was released from the hospital around noon on Sunday and was sent home on Eliquis (5 mg, 2X) and Cardizem.  On Tuesday, my cardiologist deleted the Cardizem and put me on Sotalol (1/2 80 mg tablet, 2X).

I am 66 years old and am quite active.  I exercise regularly, play softball and, most importantly, played hockey 3 plus times a week in the winter.  I am VERY concerned about the impact AFib and the associated medications will have on my activity.  I know "contact sports" are not recommended for people on blood thinners but our hockey is mostly "old guy" hockey where checking is not permitted.  Unfortunately, contact is not totally unavoidable so I am looking for input on people's experiences in this area.  My cardiologist was clearly leary of me playing hockey but did not say "no."  The cardiologist in the hospital felt it wasn't a big problem given that is not highly competitive and I wear a helmet with a face mask.  Additionally, I have been talking to some of my leaguemates and already know of several that have been on blood thinners for some time.  All words of wisdom will be appreciated!

Thanks,

Steve

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