Who is at higher risk for atrial fibrillation?

We do not fully understand how atrial fibrillation develops but there are many factors that increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation during your life, examples of which are given in the table below. These include medical conditions like diabetes or renal disease in addition to diseases of the heart. It is important to treat these comorbidities to optimise the results of atrial fibrillation therapy.

In the past, the term “lone atrial fibrillation” has been used for patients who did not have any obvious risks factor or underlying conditions making them more prone for developing atrial fibrillation. However, there has been increasing evidence showing that a cause is present in all patients and hence, the term lone atrial fibrillation is confusing and should no longer be used.

Lifestyle Comorbidities / Other conditions
Alcohol abuse High blood pressure / Diabetes
Obesity Heart infarction / Coronary heart disease
Physical inactivity or excessive endurance sports Heart failure or Heart valve disease
Smoking Sleep disorders / Obstructive sleep apnea
Stress Cardiac Surgery
Abuse of stimulants (including caffeine) Thyrotoxicosis (hyperactive thyroid)
Pulmonary infection (lung infection)
Congenital heart disease


Related Pages

Useful Tools

Preparing for your first consultation with a physician checklist


AF diagnosis and follow-up checklist


Preparing for a catheter ablation checklist


Find my specialist

Learn more

Click to print these tools to help you prepare for your appointments