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
winnifred55 avatar

Laying in bed on the morning of 11/30 I started getting a fast irregular heartbeat and was lightheaded, nauseated, and had chest tightness. After about an hour I called the doctor, who said to go to the ER. By the time I was able to get childcare and get to the hospital, it had resolved. They recommended following up with a cardiologist if I had further symptoms. 

Since then I've had frequent palpitations during the day and episodes that my fitbit has classified as afib every day or every other day lasting 5-10 minutes. Brought the PDFs of these to my first cardiology appointment and he diagnosed paroxysmal afib based on them and did an echo which came back normal. He put me on metropolol and said that after a few weeks of being on this, afib should go away and stay gone since I have no structural abnormalities. 

I've been on it for a week now, and still having a lot of palpitations. Slightly fewer afib episodes - only 3 in the last week, but they are lasting longer - closer to an hour. 

Has anyone ever had short term metropolol "cure" their afib?

dvaughan avatar

Hi, I was diagnosed in 2017. My doctor put me on Eloquis and Metoprolo and I didn't have another attack until 11/23/20. My heart rate went to 141. I went to the hospital and they were able to get the rate down and BP down. They tell me I have no blockages or clots. I'm staying on the same meds, and was released yesterday. Today my rate spiked to 131 BP. Dr's office is closed for the holidays and I just need to know if this is normal and what I can do to stop these spikes? Any help is appreciated. 

Neanderthal avatar

I was diagnosed about 1.5 yrs. ago.  For the most part I was prescribed Metroprolol, Eliquis and Flecainide.  The medications controlled my AFIB but I didn't like the side effects which was that when I did exercise, which I do most days, my heart rate would not come up.  It would stay around 60 bpm.  I got one of those Kardia electrocardiograms for around $100.  I monitored myhself and slowly weaned myself off of those medications by ensuring that I stay fully hydrated and staying away from salty/fatty foods.  I believe that getting dehydrated and/or eating salty/fatty foods will trigger an AFIB episode in me.  I'm 57 and the only health issue I have/had is AFIB.  I recommend trying to improve your diet and stay very hydrated to see if this helps you.

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