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What are symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include irregular pulse, heart palpitations, fatigue, weakness, chest pain, confusion, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and lightheadedness, according to WebMD. However, some people experience few or no symptoms and only discover the problem when undergoing a routine physical exam.

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Full Answer

While some people may experience the symptoms of atrial fibrillation experience in its mildest form immediately, others may notice it develop over the course of several days, notes WebMD. Identifying these symptoms and seeking out evaluation by a medical professional as soon as possible is crucial.

Atrial fibrillation that lasts longer than seven days is known as persistent atrial fibrillation, according to WebMD. It is treatable with medication or cardioversion techniques. Similarly, atrial fibrillation that occurs suddenly and lasts for just a short while is known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Finally, atrial fibrillation that happens all of the time for a period of at least 1 year is classified as permanent atrial fibrillation. It is characterized by treatments that do not restore the heart's normal rhythm.

The most common cause of atrial fibrillation is damage to the structure of the heart or heart abnormalities, particularly high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart defects or heart attacks. Exposure to caffeine, medication, alcohol, tobacco or other stimulants may also result in the condition.

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