Six Common Triggers of Atrial Fibrillation


Atrial fibrillation (AFib) impacts the heart’s atria or the upper chambers. Those who are suffering from this medical disorder experience irregular heartbeats due to abnormal electrical signals in the atria. Such signals erroneously circulate through the upper chambers, causing them to contract with an irregular rhythm and fast rate. Also, AFib causes other parts of the heart, including the lower chambers called ventricle to beat too quickly.

Those who have paroxysmal AFib suffer transient episodes due to a certain trigger. It is important for any patient with AFib to recognize these triggers and avoid them to effectively manage their conditions. The following are some of the most common triggers:

Hormonal Fluctuations

Normal hormonal fluctuations are likely to trigger AFib in women. Studies have discovered a link between normal hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and the prevalence of supraventricular tachycardia in women that can be due to AFib. Those who go through menopause at a young age have a lower risk of developing AFib than others.

Fatigue and Physical Illness

Recent surgery, physical illness, and sleep deprivation can trigger AFib. When the body is not running perfectly, physical stress sets in. Stress makes it possible for the heart to experience abnormal electrical activity. Thus, it is important for people with AFib to eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep every night, especially if traveling.

Physical Activity

Sometimes, increased physical exertion can also trigger AFib. But, exercise is still a healthy habit for almost everyone to adopt. Those who have AFib should talk to their doctor before they start a new exercised plan.


People with AFib must talk to their doctor before they take any over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements. Nasal spray decongestants and cold medicines are not safe for people with heart arrhythmias. The doctor can tell you if some medications are safe for you to use. They may also suggest the right alternatives.

Emotional Triggers

Emotions affect how body parts function. If you are sad or upset, you might not have the appetite to eat. Also, if you are stressed, you can have tight muscles and soreness. Anxiety, fright, and extreme happiness can lead to the heart racing or making you feel it is skipping a beat. Any strong emotions you experience in some circumstances can trigger AFib.

Alcohol Consumption

Some people experience symptoms from only one or two drinks while others do not feel serious effects in a cardiac sense unless they drink too much alcohol. Those with alcohol triggers of AFib may also experience increased vagal activity that results in transient atrial fibrillation episodes.