What is Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation and Its Effect on the Health of a Person?

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart condition where the heart beats irregularly. The heart of people with this condition beats at a rapid rate. They also have a higher risk of stroke and heart failure, among others. Atrial fibrillation normally lasts for thirty seconds. It typically affects people who are over 60 years old.

Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or PAF is a type of atrial fibrillation that spontaneously happens in two separate instances within a seven-day period. But it normally ends within twenty-four hours. After it ends, the normal rhythm of the heart comes back. The term paroxysmal refers to a sudden recurrence or increase of symptoms. Young people are likely to experience PAF compared to the other types of atrial fibrillation. The risk increases for people with heart conditions, sleep apnea, thyroid issues and high blood pressure.

Mainly Asymptomatic

Diagnosing PAF is not easy since symptoms do not normally appear before it happens. Earlier research on the condition shows that 90 percent of PAF episodes have no symptoms. Diagnosing the condition is difficult since it is asymptomatic. This contributes to the limitations of the research conducted on the condition.

Some Symptoms of PAF

When symptoms appear, these have the tendency to change easily. These symptoms may include low tolerance to exercise or fatigue. Obesity and advanced age contribute to these symptoms. Other symptoms observed include dyspnea, weakness and palpitations. The symptoms vary depending on the heart condition of patients and their ventricular rate. But patients with PAF normally do not experience heart failure and hypertension.

PAF to Permanent Atrial Fibrillation

PAF may progress to permanent atrial fibrillation over time. Research shows that the risk increases significantly over a ten-year period. Over 25 percent of people with PAF will see it develop into chronic or persistent atrial fibrillation. These patients also experience heart diseases. Patients with coronary heart disease, hypertension and rheumatic valve disease have a bigger risk of experiencing chronic atrial fibrillation.

Other Types of Atrial Fibrillation

The other types of atrial fibrillation are persistent atrial fibrillation, long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation and permanent atrial fibrillation.

  1. Persistent atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heart has an abnormal rhythm. It normally continues for over a week. It can stop naturally or through treatment.

  2. Long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation is a type of atrial fibrillation that may continue for over twelve months.

  3. Permanent atrial fibrillation is a condition where the abnormal heart rhythm cannot be treated. PAF and persistent atrial fibrillation can lead to permanent atrial fibrillation.

Dealing with PAF

People experiencing PAF should stay healthy in order to have a normal life. There is a lower risk of experiencing PAF with the treatment of other contributory health conditions. These health conditions include obesity, high blood pressure and thyroid condition. They should also avoid excessive alcohol intake, caffeine and nicotine to prevent symptoms of PAF from appearing. Stress reduction and exercise can contribute to preventing PAF from happening.


Atrial fibrillation is a condition that can affect the overall health and wellbeing of a person. It can result in a stroke or heart failure if it is not handled properly. Due to this, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising and having a healthy diet.

Leave a Reply