Does older age increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation?

Answer From Rekha Mankad, M.D.

Yes. Your risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, increases as you become older. Atrial fibrillation is much more common in older adults. Atrial fibrillation can occur at any age, but when it develops in younger people, it's usually associated with other heart conditions.

As you age, your risk of developing other conditions that can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation — such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems or heart failure — also becomes greater.

But keep in mind you can make some lifestyle choices that can improve your overall heart health and may help prevent atrial fibrillation and other types of heart conditions. Some examples include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet, including a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Aiming to eat foods that are low in salt, saturated fat and trans fat
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Keeping a healthy weight


Rekha Mankad, M.D.

Feb. 29, 2020 See more Expert Answers