7 Surprising Triggers of Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is among the most prevalent heart disorders in the United States. In fact, the American Cardiac Association estimates that about 2.7 million people currently live with atrial fibrillation. Afib develops once the electrical impulses that trigger the heart to beat normally do not fire properly, resulting in an irregular heartbeat. However, considering Afib is a major risk factor for stroke, diabetes, and hypertension, it is crucial to engage with a specialist to manage it. At Upper East Side Cardiology, Dr. Satjit Bhusri assists patients in managing symptoms and the underlying causes of Atrial fibrillation. Continue reading to learn about some of the common triggers of Upper East Side atrial fibrillation.

1) Sleep Difficulties

Atrial fibrillation could develop from poor sleep quality, which often results from a disease referred to as apnea. Even minor disruptions in a person’s sleep duration and quality could increase the risk of atrial fibrillation by up to 18%. Besides, insomniacs are up to 40% more susceptible to developing Afib.

2) Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol intake, particularly binge drinking, could weaken the cardiac muscle, rendering it hard for the heart to circulate blood effectively throughout the body. For this reason, the heart is more prone to Afib episodes. Moreover, excessive alcohol intake could cause dehydration, which is another prevalent cause of Afib.

3) Caffeine

Caffeine, a potent stimulant, has been discovered as an Afib trigger for certain individuals. Several clinical investigations, though, indicate that coffee has no or minimal effect on Afib patients. Therefore, it might be correct to say that minimal caffeine consumption will not trigger an Afib episode, but excessive use could lead to sleep disruption and other potential triggers. 

4) Intensive Exercise

Physical activity makes one’s heart pump faster. Thus, for some Afib patients, sudden intensive exercise could trigger a brief bout of related symptoms like difficulty breathing. If you experience slightly prolonged episodes of difficulty breathing or a racing heartbeat, even after a little exercise, you should consult a specialist about whether your symptoms are connected to Afib.

5) Stress

Any form of stress could bring on atrial fibrillation. Afib could be triggered by the release of stress-related chemicals during times of stress. Additionally, while under stress, people could have trouble sleeping, take more caffeine, or drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to an Afib episode.

6) Dehydration

Dehydration is a major cause of atrial fibrillation, whether due to excessive alcohol or coffee consumption or not hydrating properly. Alcohol and caffeine are potent diuretics; thus, dehydration could result in atrial fibrillation episodes if an individual does not consume adequate water.

7) Huge Meals

For some people, ingesting a large meal could result in digestive issues. These concerns could trigger the vagus nerve, which links the heart, brain, and gut. A surge in the vagus nerve caused by a heavy meal may trigger an Afib episode. According to studies, once gastrointestinal difficulties are resolved, Afib episodes often subside.

Atrial fibrillation could affect any age group, from youngsters to the elderly. Besides, considering that the risk of Afib grows with age and individuals are living longer nowadays, healthcare professionals estimate that the incidence of Afib will rise significantly in the coming years. If you suspect you have atrial fibrillation and want to establish the triggers, contact Upper East Side Cardiology. Arrange an appointment through mobile or book online today.

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