Atrial Fibrillation Causes


Atrial fibrillation classification and causesAtrial fibrillation may be associated with various cardiovascular diseases which promote the development of arrhythmia, and its maintenance. Such conditions include:

Also, there are risk factors not connected with any heart pathology, including:

  • Hyper-functioning of the thyroid gland – hyperthyroidism, which causes the intoxication with the thyroid hormones called Graves' disease (thyrotoxicosis). The thyroid function abnormality may be the only atrial fibrillation cause and can promote the development of its complications;
  • Intoxication caused by the medicine overdose (For example, cardiac glycosides used for the treatment of heart failure), narcotic drugs, smoking, alcohol abuse or excessive coffee consumption;
  • Electrolyte imbalance (changes in the potassium, magnesium or calcium blood levels) – hypokalemia (the low level of potassium in blood) as a result of the overuse of diuretic agents or food poisoning;
  • Diabetes mellitus – suffering from this condition greatly increases the risk of having atrial fibrillation, especially if a patient also has high blood pressure or obesity;
  • Stresses and neuropsychic overstrain;
  • Sleep apnea, and particularly in combination with hypertension, diabetes or organic heart diseases, may be a characteristic factor of atrial fibrillation, as apnea causes increased pressure in atria, as well as their enlargement and alterations in the autonomic nervous system state.


Next chapter: Symptoms of atrial fibrillation


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