Atrial fibrillation, or Afib for short, is a common heart rhythm disorder that you might notice in many of your relatives. Does that make Afib a hereditary condition? Yes, it is a familial trait that may pass down to generations; however, you are more at risk due to the kind of lifestyle you follow and whether or not there are other co-morbidities involved.
Hereditary Afib Disorder
Genetic atrial fibrillation is an inherent heart condition that disrupts its regular rhythm. You can inherit specific gene mutations that may increase your risk of developing this condition.
Afib or arrhythmia occurs when the doctor diagnoses erratic electrical activity in the atria, which is the upper 2 chambers of the heart. This, in turn, results in an irregular response to the lower compartments of the heart – the ventricles, causing fast and irregular heartbeat.
Amongst every 3 in 10 people having Afib do not show identifiable risk factors other than their hereditary trait. According to scientists, gene mutation is a significant factor in such cases. In case you have familial atrial fibrillation, you may get a diagnosis much earlier than those who do not.
Some specific genes may lead to Afib independently, while others have an epigenetic role. This means certain patterns and environmental factors can result in mutations, changing how genes function.
Genetic alterations show their effect on ion channels in the heart chambers that have the duty of maintaining the heart’s regular rhythm. Moreover, they also keep the structure of your heart upright since they affect cardiac muscle contraction.
However, it is noticed that in many cases, you can’t pinpoint the exact cause, and more research can clarify the role of genes in the development of hereditary Afib.
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION – Causes
- Other than passed on genetic makeup, Afib can occur from structural heart diseases such as congenital heart defects – the ones you are born with and issues with the heart valves.
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease,
- Myocardial Infarction or a heart attack
- Sick sinus syndrome – Issues with the heart’s natural pacemaker
- Previous heart surgery
- Lung disease
Atrial fibrillation can occur without heart damage or problems. The reasons include the following:
- Thyroid disease
- Sleep apnea
- Viral infections
- Physical stress
- Medications and stimulants such as alcohol or caffeine can also cause non-genetic Afib.
Risk Factors Of Afib
A few of the risk factors for A-fib are:
- Older age,
- Structural heart defect
- High blood pressure
- Chronic health conditions such as diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- chronic kidney disease.
Is Hereditary Afib Preventable?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent hereditary Afib, aka atrial fibrillation. However, certain lifestyle modifications can keep your heart healthy.
- Follow a healthy diet.
- Regular exercise can help keep your weight and BP in check.
- Do not smoke tobacco-based products.
- Keep your weight under normal BMI.
- Limit drinking alcohol.
- Do not forget to take 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Following a good lifestyle can help you manage genetic Afib issues. If you are lost, you can always get in touch with the professionals from Afib America at (832) 478-5067 for a helping hand. We will take you through a better and healthier life.