What Are the Causes of Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation may result from conditions that affect the heart such as heart attacks, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, lung diseases and coronary artery disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Stress-related pneumonia, sick sinus syndrome and viral infections are other conditions that affect the heart, causing atrial fibrillation. Factors that may predispose an individual to atrial fibrillation include alcoholism, advanced age and obesity. Additionally, an individual has high chances of developing atrial fibrillation if the condition runs in his family.

Atrial fibrillation is an occasional, persistent or permanent abnormal heart rate in which the heart loses its blood-pumping efficiency as a result of chaotic electrical signals in the atria, leading to insufficient supply of blood from the heart to other body parts, notes Mayo Clinic. Although atrial fibrillation does not cause signs and symptoms in all cases, signs and symptoms include palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue and chest pain. Patients may also have lessened exercise ability, shortness of breath, confusion and body weakness. Since atrial fibrillation may result from a serious condition such as a heart attack, it is important to seek immediate medical care when the symptoms appear to ensure early diagnosis and treatment and to avoid possible complications such as heart failure and stroke.