1. Stress. Stress is a major trigger of many conditions. Experts agree that it can have a direct and severe impact on AFib. Of course, stress comes in different packages at different stages of life, and for young people, the mix of school, social dynamics, and future planning can bring an overwhelming dose of stress.
How does stress lead to AFib? The stress response can activate the heart, jumpstarting electrical signals and encouraging AFib symptoms in those prone to them. Both mental and physical stress can cause this response, and in either case, you may need behavioral treatment as well as medication to resolve the issue.
2. Mineral imbalance. A fine balance of minerals, vitamins, water, and calories helps your body to function well. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to let your magnesium, calcium, potassium, and hydration levels lag – and that can set the stage for AFib.
It’s unfair to label young people as poor eaters – many consume a wholesome, balanced diet that serves their physical and mental health. However, many other young people subscribe to a processed food diet, which is usually deficient in many important nutrients.
3. Infection. Pericarditis, an infection that can develop around the heart membrane, could lead to AFib, but so could other bacterial infections that aren’t directly affecting the heart. Research has found that the level of C-reactive protein, an important marker of inflammation, is measurably higher in people with AFib.
Dental infection or disease could also cause trouble. You may have heard that gum disease increases your risk of some cardiovascular disease, but a recent study turned up a link between periodontal health and AFib, too. Experts suggest regular scaling to keep the inflammation down and mitigate your risk of heart rhythm problems.
4. Drug abuse. Illicit and commonly-prescribed drugs can trigger AFib, whether or not you have a pre-existing heart disorder. Stimulants are more often to blame, like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. Doctors have also discovered that opioid use can lead to heart rhythm irregularities, and given that more teenagers and young adults are misusing prescribed opioids, this poses a grave danger.
5. Comorbidities. Congenital defects could cause AFib to manifest earlier in life, as can other metabolic disorders, like diabetes. Hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and pulmonary embolism could also be at the root of the problem. For young people who suspect or know they have AFib, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to conduct a thorough examination of your medical history and physical health, in order to uncover any other illnesses that could be complicating matters.