Atrial fibrillation, Healthcare, Heart Diseases, Heart Health

11 Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms and How to Interpret Them

AFib symptoms

AFib or atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that you probably have had in the past; you just did not know it. It is no surprise, knowing that any major emotion can easily cause AFib to take place. But what we are more interested in are those of you who are experiencing AFib daily without even knowing that you are having atrial fibrillation symptoms.

Left untreated, AFib is dangerous and potentially even life-threatening.

Knowing that discovering and treating it as soon as possible is key. So here are 11 common AFib symptoms and how to interpret them.

11 AFib Symptoms That You Need to Know About

1. Heart Palpitations

People often refer to AFib by saying something like – “I feel my heart fluttering like a butterfly” or “My heart feels like a fish out of water.” What they are trying to explain is the most common symptom of AFib – heart palpations. 

Heart palpitations can be caused by other factors as well, such as fear, anxiety, exercise, and even extreme happiness.

It feels as if your heart is having the hiccups, as it happens to skip a beat or two.

But heart palpitations can also be caused by AFib. In this case, they are happening regularly and appear out of nowhere, being caused by no particular reason whatsoever. 

2. A Racing Heartbeat

Another quite characteristic symptom of AFib is a racing heartbeat. You may hear people saying that they had the feeling as if their hearts would jump out of their chest. Once again, this is quite a common sensation, being caused by extreme emotions such as fear, anxiety, exercise, and happiness. Unfortunately, it can be more than a simple natural psychological reaction. In such a case, it appears as a symptom of AFib.

You can suspect your racing heartbeat being one of the symptoms of AFib if, like the heart palpitations, it is caused for no particular reason.

The reason for that is the too many electrical signals that are being sent right into the atria.

They are all trying to reach the lower heart ventricles at the same time. This leads to a real mess in your heart function. The result is a racing heartbeat that has the habit of alternately speeding up and slowing down.

3. Dizziness

Do you feel dizzy in the middle of the day? Dizziness can be a sign of many different health issues, one of which is AFib. Our blood is carrying the oxygen that we breathe from the lungs to every cell in the body. To do that, it first needs to go through the heart. When AFib is happening, your heart is exactly the place where things start to get messy. 

Because of the disturbed electrical signals in the heart muscle, there are disturbances in the blood flow as well.

Where there is no proper blood flow, there is no proper oxygenation in the body. As a result, atrial fibrillation symptoms such as dizziness appears. 

4. Lightheadedness and Fainting

Another common symptom that is happening due to the disturbed blood flow in the body is lightheadedness and even fainting. People report feeling lightheaded and even losing conciseness because of their underlying AFib that they were initially not aware of. 

These two AFib symptoms can be caused by many different causes. But if they appear along with heart palpitations, a racing heartbeat, dizziness, etc. it is probably a case of AFib.

5. Confusion

Your brain, like any other organ in the body, needs oxygen as well. Having inadequate amounts of oxygen delivered to it can cause symptoms such as confusion and brain fog. If you feel mentally exhausted daily, for no reason, do schedule a visit to the doctor’s office.

6. Fatigue and Weakness

“I no longer wake up energized and full of life,” “I feel weak and exhausted even though I spent most of the day laying around” – people tend to say. What they are battling is a case of chronic fatigue and weakness.

It is caused by AFib as a result of the inadequate amount of oxygen delivered to the cells in the body.

7. Shortness of Breath

Do you happen to feel out of breath even when you are not doing any big? This could be one of many atrial fibrillation symptoms. Even if you do not experience any of the other symptoms, shortness of breath is a serious symptom. As such, it requires immediate medical attention.

8. Chest Tightness

Patients with AFib often report experiencing tightness, and even pain, located in their chest. Anyone who has had experience with acid reflux probably is not too much worried about this particular symptom. But the difference between chest tightness caused by AFib and that caused by acid reflux is that an antacid will not help. 

Also, acid reflux is often caused by certain foods and drinks such as coffee, alcohol, fatty, and spicy foods.

During AFib, the chest tightness, like most symptoms, happens out of nowhere, and avoiding any food will not help the case.

9. A Decline in Physical Endurance and Performance

People with AFib often struggle with a decline in their physical performance. They no longer feel strong enough or able to complete even the smallest tasks as sometimes. Even climbing up the stairs seems rather too difficult. The patients may also experience dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when they are doing simple tasks that are otherwise not exhausting.

10. Sweating

AFib exposes you to many health risks, among some life-threatening ones such as stroke and heart attack.

If you happen to experience excessive sweating, especially cold sweats, that may be a sign of a heart attack.

This is a medical emergency, and you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

11. Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the common causes of AFib. However, AFib can also be a contributing factor to your anxiety. It can be quite mentally exhausting to have to deal with a racing heartbeat and the other AFib symptoms daily. This eventually could result in anxiety.


Atrial fibrillation is manageable, and when discovered in time, the potential heart damage can be minimalized. But to get it treated, you first need to know how to recognize its symptoms. Today, we explained the 11 most commonly atrial fibrillation symptoms, which you can inform yourself and your loved ones. By doing so, you will increase your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Your chances improve with regular health monitoring. With the variety of health trackers and apps available on our smartphones, you can now track multiple aspects of your health on your own from anywhere. Including those mentioned above.

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