Atrial Fibrillation in Cardiology (AFib)

Signs and Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Some people with AFib don’t have any symptoms. Those who do may report:

  • Heart palpitation – a thumping or racing heart, fluttering or skipping beats
  • Feeling unusually tired or fatigued
  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting spells
  • Chest pain (angina)

What Increases Your Risk?

Several factors make AFib more likely:

  • Older age, although it can happen at any age
  • Conditions that place added strain on the heart including high blood pressure, a previous heart attack, heart surgery, valve disease, heart failure
  • Other illnesses such as obesity, sleep apnea or hyperthyroidism
  • Family history   
  • Drinking too much alcohol (routinely having 3 or more drinks a day or binge drinking) 

Episodes of AFib are often triggered by certain activities. These may include: 

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Excessive stimulants such as amphetamines and tobacco
  • Periods of severe stress
    • the stress of the body fighting infection
    • the stress of recent surgery

Pay attention to what might make your symptoms of AFib worse. Be sure to share this information with your health care team.

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