What causes atrial fibrillation?


Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart beat condition manifested as chaotic electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart. This condition can often be related with age or existing heart conditions. It is quite hard to determine what causes atrial fibrillation. In some cases, a true cause can never be found. However there are a few circumstances and conditions that cardiologists have linked with atrial fibrillation. Whether you have experienced arrhythmia before or not is irrelevant on how it should be handled. It is essential to seek a medical perspective within 24 hours as atrial fibrillation can sometimes lead to strokes.

The heart is made out of four chambers. In the upper right chamber there are a group of cells that act as a pacemaker giving the impulse that generates the heartbeat. The impulse travels through the upper chambers( atria) and then through a pathway connecting the upper chambers with the lower ones. When the atria experience abnormal electrical signals it quivers leading to an overload of impulses that cause an irregular heart rhythm. Although atrial fibrillation can sometimes be symptomless, there are some common body manifestations that are linked with it such as chest pain, palpitation or congestive heart failure. Understanding what causes atrial fibrillation is essential in order to take this condition seriously. If it is not kept under control arrhythmia can cause blood clots that lead to strokes. Furthermore some symptoms of atrial fibrillation can even be heart threatening such as decompensated congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, hypotension and uncontrolled chest pain.

Although cardiologists have yet to discover what is the true nature of atrial fibrillation they have linked it with some circumstances. Arrhythmia is usually associated with elder patients and young people rarely experience it. It is commonly related to heart problems such as high blood pressure, pericarditis, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, heart valve diseases, previous heart surgery or atrial flutter. It can also be linked with other health problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning, hyperthyroidism, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, diabetes, asthma, lung cancer and pulmonary diseases. Although these are the most common links with this condition sometimes they are not the only causes. As we have stated before a definite cause of this condition is yet to be discovered. Once the atrial fibrillation is diagnosed certain precautions should be taken in order to avoid an episode. Patients suffering from this condition should avoid drinking excessively, smoking, taking illegal drugs and drinking a lot of caffeine. Furthermore weight problems can also trigger an episode so a disciplined diet should be enforced upon overweight people who have experienced arrhythmia. Despite the fact that there are certain treatments that help restore a regular heart rhythm and prevent the formation of blood clots, without knowing the cause the arrhythmia will probably reappear. Only by knowing what causes atrial fibrillation can the doctors take measures towards preventing it.