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. Atrial fibrillation can also occur without any other disease and nearly 1/3 of people with atrial fibrillation have a normal heart and no other diseases. This is described as “lone atrial fibrillation”.

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


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