beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Risk Factors

Factors That Increase Your Chances

About 30 percent of those with AF have no risk factors. Factors that increase your chances of developing atrial fibrillation include:

  • Age
    • Risk increases as you get older.
    • AF occurs in about 15 percent of those over the age of 75, but it can be seen in young people as well.
    • As the population continues to age, it is expected to become more common.
  • Heart disease, including history of valve disease, coronary artery disease, heart attack or heart surgery
  • High blood pressure, particularly if it is not well controlled
  • Excessive alcohol consumption, particularly binge drinking
  • Family history
  • Sleep apnea
  • Thyroid problems
  • Pericardial inflammation
  • Exposure to stimulants, including caffeine, tobacco, or cocaine 

Factors of Stroke in AF

Most patients with AF are at risk of having a stroke. Risk factors for stroke in AF include:

  • Age over 65
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure 
  • History of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Contact Information

Cardiac Surgery
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building, 2A
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-632-8383