Skip to content

Atrial Fibrillation Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Atrial Fibrillation - Cause

Atrial fibrillation is a problem with the heart's electrical system.

When something goes wrong with this system, it's usually because of other health problems that are causing wear and tear on the heart or making it hard for the heart to do its job. Sometimes it's because of lifestyle habits—such as smoking or heavy drinking—that are hard on the heart.

Recommended Related to Atrial Fibrillation

Alcohol and AFib Risks: Is It Safe to Drink?

Drinking certain kinds of alcohol daily can raise your chances of getting atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that makes your heart beat really fast. AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart conditions. Moderate drinking (one to three drinks a day). A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a strong link between moderate drinking and getting AFib. Oddly enough, the study found this to be true for people who drink wine and...

Read the Alcohol and AFib Risks: Is It Safe to Drink? article > >

Problems that affect the heart's structure

Atrial fibrillation is often caused by a health problem that directly affects the heart, including:

Other health problems

Atrial fibrillation can also be caused by other health problems, including:

  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Lung disease, such as COPD.
  • Having heart surgery or other open-chest surgery.
  • Taking certain prescription medicines, such as albuterol or theophylline.

Atrial fibrillation caused by a condition that is treatable, such as pneumonia or hyperthyroidism, often goes away when that condition is treated.

In some cases, doctors cannot find the cause of atrial fibrillation. These cases are called lone atrial fibrillation. Lone atrial fibrillation occurs more often in people younger than 65. It often stops on its own. But it may need to be treated.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

pacemaker next to xray
Ablation, cardioversion, pacemaker, and more.
human brain
What you need to know.
 
woman doing yoga
Tips for easing stress.
fish and vegetables
How to eat to protect your heart.
 
Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
At Risk for Heart Disease
Article
 
Recognizing Womens Heart Symptoms
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 

Resolved To Quit Smoking
Slideshow
Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow
Slideshow
 
Heart Disease And Ed
Article
Atrial fibrillation
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections