Genetic Predisposition Testing for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart start beating with an abnormal rhythm. This occurs as a result of an abnormality in the electrical impulses that regulate heartbeat.

About Atrial Fibrillation

Generally speaking, in Atrial fibrillation, the heart muscles start to beat faster and in an uncoordinated fashion. This disrupts the smooth flow of blood with the result that blood accumulates in the heart chambers.

Atrial Fibrillation can be a brief transient condition, or it can become chronic. AF can interrupt smooth blood flow, increasing the risk of accumulation of clots that can cause organ damage or stroke. The heart’s ability to pump blood can also deteriorate, leading to heart failure.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Palpitations, awareness of a rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness, and fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Angina (chest pain due to the reduced blood flow to the heart muscles)

What causes Atrial Fibrillation?

There are many risk factors for developing Atrial fibrillation. These include: increased age (1% of people over 60 years of age have Atrial fibrillation), high blood pressure, mitral valve malfunction, an overactive thyroid gland, low amounts of oxygen in the blood, blood clots in the lung, chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, drug abuse, alcoholism and congenital heart disease. In some cases, no specific physical cause can be found. A family history of Atrial fibrillation can also contribute towards the increasing the risk for developing this condition. Specific genetic variations are also known to contribute to the risk of Atrial fibrillation.

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