What are the risk factors for atrial fibrillation?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder.

These include:

  • Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
  • Heart disease. Anyone with heart disease — such as heart valve problems, congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or a history of heart attack or 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 certain chronic conditions — such as thyroid problems, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or lung disease — have an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
  • Drinking alcohol. For some people, drinking alcohol can trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation. Binge drinking may put you at an even higher risk.
  • Obesity. People who are obese are at higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
  • Family history. An increased risk of atrial fibrillation runs in some families.
Feb. 25, 2014 See more In-depth