Atrial fibrillation is the most common of the arrhythmias. Though lifestyle factors and underlying health conditions play a role in developing AFib, a person’s genes may also be involved.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a type of heart arrhythmia. A person with AFib has irregular beats in the upper chambers (the atria). This situation impairs the blood flow throughout the heart.
When AFib is hereditary – meaning it is passed along in a person’s genes – it is called familial atrial fibrillation (FAF).
Your doctor may suspect you have FAF if you have AFib but do not have the usual risk factors. Up to
There are more than
In the heart, these proteins help deliver substances like potassium and sodium that directly affect your heart’s rate and rhythm. So, if these genes are altered (mutated), your heart may have an irregular rate or beat like AFib.
Some genes directly cause the arrhythmia. Others may indirectly cause it by influencing how the body responds to triggers.
There are also reports of inheritance in an autosomal recessive manner. This means that two copies of an affected gene – one from each parent – are necessary to cause the condition.
People with FAF may or may not have symptoms. If you have a family history of AFib, paying attention to cues your body gives you is essential.
Symptoms may include:
- irregular heartbeat
- fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
- severe fatigue
- low blood pressure
- shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- chest pain (angina)
Make an appointment with your doctor even if you don’t have symptoms. Early detection may help you avoid complications.
Your doctor will give you a physical exam and look at your health history. You may also be referred to a cardiologist for further testing. AFib is typically diagnosed by a electrocardiogram (EKG) or Holter monitor.
Other tests that may be performed to help diagnose conditions that may cause AFib include:
People with other health conditions along with AFib may also risk developing heart failure.
The primary risk factor for FAF is having a family history of AFib. The risks may
Other risk factors for AFib include:
It’s essential to keep up with regular doctor appointments to monitor your heart rate and rhythm. Your outlook depends on the type of AFib you have and your adherence to your treatment plan.
If an immediate family member has AFib, does that mean I will, too?
Not necessarily. Lifestyle, age, and other factors cause AFib in
Can I exercise with AFib?
Yes. You can do
How can I prevent FAF?
You may not be able to prevent FAF because it is caused by changes in your genes.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have a family history of AFib. Many risk factors are involved with this condition, but your genes play a role.
Early identification means earlier treatment and preventing complications like heart failure or stroke.