Atrial fibrillation

It consists of a heart rhythm abnormality characterized by uncoordinated episodes of atrial electrical activity (fibrillation), causing a rapid and irregular heartbeat. It is the most frequent type of cardiac arrhythmia with a prevalence of 0.5% in the population. If left untreated, it can cause dizziness, chest pain, or fainting, as well as increase the risk of stroke and sudden death.

There is no cause as such described for atrial fibrillation. It is most often associated with structural abnormalities of the heart such as congenital heart defects, valvular, coronary or cardiomyopathies, as well as a history of surgery or heart attacks. However, sometimes it is not associated with any underlying cardiac pathology. In this regard, the following factors, in addition to the possible genetic contribution, may be related to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation:

  • Advanced age. the older the person, the higher the risk.
  • High blood pressure, especially if it is not controlled.
  • Obesity.
  • Hyperthyroidism and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic kidney disease, lung disease or sleep apnea.
  • Psychological or physical stress induced by surgery, pneumonia or viral infections or other diseases.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking, and the use of stimulants, including certain medications, amphetamine, caffeine or tobacco.
  • The population with European ancestry presents an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

Symptoms

The symptomatology associated with atrial fibrillation is widely variable. Some patients have no manifestations while others may present with any of the following:

  • Sensation of rapid heartbeat, fluttering or pounding palpitations.
  • Chest pain, pressure or discomfort.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness.
  • Fatigue, excessive tiredness or weakness.
  • Shortness of breath, decreased ability to exercise.

Prevention

Following a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent or treat conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. These changes generally include

  • Following a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limiting salt and fat intake.
  • Exercising regularly every day and increasing physical activity.
  • Stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and restrict caffeine intake from products such as tea, coffee, energy drinks or cola.
  • Keep blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels under control.
  • Achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

134 loci

Genes analyzed

ABHD17C AKAP6 AOPEP ARHGAP10 ARNT2 ASAH1 BEND5 C1orf185 CAMK2D CAND2 CASQ2 CASZ1 CAV1 CDK6 CDKN1A CEP68 CFL2 CGA CLIC6 CPEB4 CREB5 CUL4A CYTH1 DBX1 DEK DGKB DPF3 EFNA5 EPHA3 ERBB4 ESR2 FAM13B FBRSL1 FBXO32 FGF5 FRMD4B GATA4 GCOM1 GJA1 GJA5 GMCL1 GMPR GNB4 GTF2I GYPC HAND2 HCN4 HERC1 HIP1R HSF2 HSPG2 IGF1R IL6R IRF2BPL JMJD1C KCND3 KCNH2 KCNJ5 KCNN2 KCNN3 KIF3C KLHL38 LHX3 LRIG1 LRMDA LRRC10 MSL2 MYH6 MYO18B MYOCD MYZAP NACA NEURL1 NKX2-5 NPM3 NR3C1 NTMT2 NUCKS1 OPN1SW PHLDA1 PHLDB2 PITX2 PKP2 PLEKHA3 PPFIA4 PRRX1 PTK2 RBM20 REEP1 RPL3L SAMD8 SCMH1 SCN10A SCN5A SGCG SH3PXD2A SLC27A6 SLC35F1 SLC9B1 SLIT3 SMAD7 SORL1 SOX5 SPATS2L SSPN SYNE2 SYNPO2L TAB2 TBX5 THRB TNFSF12-TNFSF13 TUBA8 USP34 WIPF1 WNT3 XPO7 XXYLT1 YWHAE ZEB2 ZFHX3 ZPBP2

Bibliography

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