Those at most risk
Anyone can suffer from an arrhythmia at any age and over 700,000 people in the UK have an arrhythmia. A further one million people have been affected by arrhythmia at some point in their lives. There are 120,000 deaths every year caused by arrhythmias and over 80% could be prevented. Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia, affects 1% of the population (rising to 4% in the over 65s) and an estimated 50,000 people in the London and the Greater London area.
AF affects men and women equally but women diagnosed with it have a longer-term risk of premature death. Age affects not only the odds of developing AF but also its severity. It can occur in some younger people, sometimes as a result of binge drinking, smoking, or drugs and is a common cause of sudden death and the most common cause of stroke.