Atrial fibrillation is a condition affecting the heart. It is the irregular, rapid heartbeats in an individual that leads to the poor circulation of blood throughout the body. It is the two upper chambers of the heart that are beating erratically and not in conjunction with the lower chambers.


Sufferers will feel symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue, and palpitations of the heart. Some sufferers will experience symptoms chronically while others will only experience the rapid heartbeats on occasion. Atrial fibrillation is not life-threatening in most cases but it can become a serious condition for some who will need to seek emergency medical intervention. Atrial fibrillation can also result in other medical complications.


The cause of atrial fibrillation is irregular electrical signals in the upper chambers. Normal heartbeats average between 60 and 100 beats a minute. With this condition, heartbeats can range between 100 and 175 beats a minute. High blood pressure, heart valves abnormalities, heart defects, overactive thyroids, and viral infections can all contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation.


Depending on the underlying cause of the condition, medications may be used to treat the erratic heartbeats. Medical intervention will attempt to control the heartbeat rates in chronic sufferers and prevent blood clots. Surgery may be required in more chronic sufferers. Lifestyle changes will also be key in controlling heart conditions. If high blood pressure is the root causes, a healthier diet will be necessary which includes less salt intake and more exercise. If you smoke, you will need to quit. Alcohol consumption will also need to be lowered to just one a day. Additional complications may include a stroke or heart failure. Blood clots are also a concern. Medical intervention and monitoring may be necessary to prevent heart damage.