Atrial fibrillation affects approximately 200,000 people in the United States every year, and is characterized by an abnormal heart heart. If you haven’t yet been screened for AFib and if any of the following risk factors apply to you, then it may be time to schedule your heart rhythm screening.

1. You’re Over Age 40

While AFib is most common in adults over the age of 65, there is a significantly increased risk of developing AFib once you hit the age of 40. Therefore, it is never a bad idea to have a screening done around this age, especially if any other risk factors apply to you.

2. You Have Heart Disease

Those with a history of heart disease are also more likely to suffer from AFib. If you have been diagnosed with a heart disease, your doctor should schedule a heart rhythm screening to see if your heart beat is regular.

3. You Have High Blood Pressure

In addition to heart disease, high blood pressure can make you more likely to have an irregular heartbeat. It is also worth noting that high blood pressure places you at a higher risk of having a stroke, which is the most common health complication associated with AFib.

4. You Drink a Lot of Caffeine and/or Alcohol

Alcohol and caffeine can both increase your blood pressure, which can in-turn put you at greater risk of developing AFib. If you drink alcohol on a regular basis or if you have a lot of caffeine in your diet, you may want to consider cutting back for the sake of your heart health. In some cases, those who drink heavily for a short period of time (such as during a holiday weekend) may even suffer from temporary AFib symptoms.

5. You Have a Family History of AFib

Finally, if any of your immediate family members or close relatives have been diagnosed with AFib in the past, your risk of developing it is significantly higher, as about 30% of people with AFib have a family history.

If you have any symptoms of atrial fibrillation or if any of these risk factors apply to you, be sure to schedule a heart rhythm screening. Dr. Mathew of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. has been helping patients in the Sarasota area manage AFib for over a decade.