Atrial Fibrillation Facts and Statistics

Atrial Fibrillation Facts and Statistics

Atrial fibrillation, also referred to as AFib, is a type of arrhythmia, i.e. abnormal heartbeat, that can cause numerous heart-related complications like blood clots, heart failure, and stroke. That said, AFib is a very serious condition that may result in life-threatening complications.

This irregular and rapid heartbeat can occur with or without any signs or symptoms and may occur either in short episodes or be a permanent condition. In most cases, immediate medical attention is necessary. So, continue reading this article and find out more about atrial fibrillation facts and statistics to be able to identify the arrhythmia and seek help in case you need it.


Believe it or not, atrial fibrillation is the most commonly diagnosed arrhythmia in clinical practice. According to estimates, the prevalence of AFib in the U.S. ranges from 2.7 to 6.1 million. By 2030, it is believed that this number will reach a whopping 12.1 million.

On a global level, 33.5 million suffered from AFib in 2010. Furthermore, about 2% of people under the age of 65 and 9% of people older than 65 have atrial fibrillation. Plus, those who don’t identify as white are less likely to suffer from AFib, according to research.


As we already noted, atrial fibrillation can occur with or without symptoms. Nevertheless, if there are still signs of the condition, the most common symptoms are shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Other signs of the condition include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Faintness
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue

Causes and Risk Factors

The most common cause of AFib is abnormality or damage to the heart’s structure. In short, people are at higher risk of developing this type of arrhythmia if they have:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart defects
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Pericarditis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • A family history of AFib

In addition, those who have cardiovascular conditions and procedures such as stroke and heart failure have an increased mortality rate. Also, stress, mental health issues, caffeine consumption, and alcohol misuse have also been linked to an increased risk for AFib.

What’s more, the risk of getting atrial fibrillation increases with age. Precisely speaking, around 70% of AFib patients are between the ages of 65 and 85. Similarly, this arrhythmia is more prevalent in men and those of European ancestry.


Although it is frequently unrecognized, atrial fibrillation is a serious condition that could be lethal if left untreated or at least result in serious complications.

Statistics show that people with AFib are at a 5 times higher risk of having a stroke compared to people without the condition. Similarly, when the heart beats abnormally fast, it can even result in heart failure. Atrial fibrillation may also cause blood clots which may travel in the bloodstream and cause blockage.

Treatment Options

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the atrial fibrillation treatment options available. Namely, the treatment depends on whether or not you have any other disease or condition causing the AFib and varies from person to person. In general, common treatment options for atrial fibrillation include:

  • Medications that control the heart’s rhythm and rate
  • Medications that prevent blood clots, called blood-thinners
  • Surgery or other procedures
  • Healthy lifestyle changes

And, if you don’t have AFib but are at risk of developing it, ensure you keep your heart healthy to prevent the condition by keeping normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.