Heart & Cardiology/Afib heredity

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Question
Dr.

My dad was just diagnosed with his first afib  episode after he was sick. He is 72 years old.  His heart is structurally and functionally normal. He previously would drink energy drinks with high caffeine every morning and earlier in life was a smoker for 15 years. My grandfather his dad , I believe had afib that first happened at a later age at around 85 years old.   My mom has no history of afib or afib in her family . My dads sister however my aunt also had afib that developed in her 70s.


I'm 27 and I'm wondering how much is afib genetic? And what can I do to decrease my risk of getting it later in life ?

Answer
Hi, http://blog.myheart.net/2014/06/29/afib-with-rvr-when-the-heart-races-out-of-con, http://blog.myheart.net/2013/10/01/atrial-fibrillation-part-1-what-is-it/

I think the best way to answer this highlight the established risk factors for afib, and then briefly discuss the genetics of afib.

Afib is common and the strongest risk factor is aging, at the age of 35, the its present in about 1%, and at the age of 85 its present in about 15%. High blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, obesity and sleep apnea are other recognized risk factors. Chronic kidney disease, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, and thyroid dysfunction are also recognized independent risk factors. Therefore in terms of preventing afib, paying attention to lifestyle and common cardiac risk factors and avoiding triggers such as those mentioned would be prudent. Also optimal treatment of the above conditions is advised, as it would be anyway.

There is likely some genetic component to afib however there is much work required to better understand this. There is by no means an established common pattern of inheritance, which basically means as far as we know, although you may be at slightly increased risk of afib if family members have it, there is by no means certainty of this. There have been many studies identifying genes related to certain channels in the heart related to electrical activity which may help us better understand the disease.

Its likely an interplay of risk factors and a genetic component. From your point of view, just minimize the risk factors as best as you can.

Hope that was helpful,  

Heart & Cardiology

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Mustafa Ahmed MD

Expertise

Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Hypertension, Pulmonary Embolism, Structural and Valve Disease

Experience

Board Certification Internal Medicine and Cardiology Interventional and Structural Cardiology

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http://blog.myheart.net

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Multiple Publications In High Quality Peer Reviewed Journals. Internationally Recognized.

Education/Credentials
MD from The Royal Victoria University of Manchester, England Medicine, Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, Research Training - University of Alabama

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