With a well-managed treatment plan in place, those with atrial fibrillation can expect to live a normal, healthy life, although those with weakened hearts may have shorter life spans, the Texas Heart Institute indicates. This is due to the fact that atrial fibrillation is a marker for other underlying health issues. The biggest threat is embolic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot forms in the heart, travels to the brain and causes a stroke, according to Everyday Health.
Though atrial fibrillation occurs most often in those over 70, it can affect people of any age. For those younger than 55, less than one in 1,000 suffer from atrial fibrillation. Over a lifetime, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation ranges between 18 and 25 percent according to Everyday Health.
The causes of atrial fibrillation vary and may include medications, trauma and heart attack. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may not be noticeable because the heart chamber that is fibrillating is not responsible for the bulk of work in pumping blood. Some foods, such as those containing caffeine or alcohol, can trigger or increase atrial fibrillation symptoms, according to Everyday Health. In addition, foods containing excess salt can raise blood pressure and trigger an atrial fibrillation episode.