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In AF your heart's electrical signals become chaotic
AF is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. In AF the electrical signals in the atria become chaotic and disorganised making the atria contract very rapidly and in an irregular way. This is known as fibrillation.
The atrio-ventricular node can not pass on all of these signals to the ventricles but it still results in fast and irregular contraction of the ventricles. This fast, irregular rhythm prevents the heart from pumping effectively and the circulation of blood can be impaired.
Some people have no symptoms and AF is only discovered when a nurse or doctor feels your pulse and finds it to be fast and irregular (no pattern to the beats). However, when the heart beats fast and in an irregular way it can not work efficiently and the following symptoms may occur:
If you notice a sudden change in your heartbeat and have chest pain you should always seek urgent medical advice.
The main risk of AF is causing a stroke
Sometimes AF develops along with other medical conditions such as:
Sometimes the cause of AF is unknown.
There are a variety of situations that can trigger an episode of, or contribute to, AF:
Learning to recognise your individual trigger factors and reducing, or avoiding, them can sometimes help to minimise your symptoms of AF.