Atrial Fibrillation: Know Your Risk

Understand what conditions or lifestyle factors may put you at risk for AFib.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is the most common heart arrhythmia1, affecting nearly 5 million adults in the U.S.2 There are many health and lifestyle factors that contribute to your risk for developing AFib; and some of these can be present at the same time. Learn which factors may put you at an increased risk for AFib.

You are over the age of 65.

The risk for AFib increases with age, and unfortunately, we’re all aging! People over the age of 65 are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, which can all contribute to the risk of AFib.

You have chronic conditions.

A chronic condition or disease is one that is persistent and lasts over a long period of time. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, or lung disease may be at an increased risk for experiencing AFib.

You have heart disease.

Congestive heart failure, congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease or a history of a heart attack can heighten your risk of AFib. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 adults over the age of 80 have a heart condition.2

You have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, accounts for 1 in 5 cases of AFib, making it one of the most common risk factors.1 Nearly half of American adults (47%) have high blood pressure or are taking medication for it.4

You smoke.

Smoking cigarettes may increase your risk of AFib, as it’s associated with elevated blood pressure and heart rate. In a study from Heart Rhythm Society, smoking was attributed to a twofold increase in AFib.

What should you do about it?
Luckily, there are ways to help decrease or manage your risk of AFib.

  1. Get up and move.
    A sedentary lifestyle can negatively contribute to many of the risk factors mentioned above. Staying active and getting regular exercise can have a positive impact on your overall health and may help decrease your risk of AFib.

  2. Quit smoking.
    It’s a no-brainer. Smoking has been linked to numerous life-threatening conditions. The sooner you quit, the better off your health will be.

  3. Take medication as prescribed.
    If your doctor has prescribed you medication to manage high blood pressure, diabetes, or another condition it’s important to stay on top of it. This medication can help manage your comorbidity, and in turn lower your AFib risk.

  4. Take regular EKGs.
    AFib is diagnosed with an electrocardiogram (EKG). But sometimes AFib can be hard to catch if you’re not experiencing it when you’re at the doctor’s office. With a personal EKG like KardiaMobile, you can record a medical-grade EKG from home the moment you feel a symptom.

  5. Talk to your doctor.
    AFib is a serious heart condition and a leading cause of stroke. But with early detection and proper management, it can be treated. When it comes to your heart health, your doctor is your best resource. Talk to them about any symptoms or risk factors you may have.