Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include:

  • Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
  • Heart disease. Anyone with heart disease, including valve problems and a history of heart attack and heart surgery, has an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
  • High blood pressure. Having high blood pressure, especially if it's not well controlled with lifestyle changes or medications, can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation.
  • Other chronic conditions. People with thyroid problems, sleep apnea and other medical problems have an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
  • Drinking alcohol. For some people, drinking alcohol can trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation. Binge drinking — having five drinks in two hours for men, or four drinks for women — may put you at higher risk.
  • Family history. An increased risk of atrial fibrillation runs in some families.
Feb. 08, 2013