Lewes, DE -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/29/2014 -- Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a disorder of the heart’s electrical system. The condition is characterized by an irregular heart rhythm that is either too fast or too slow. During AF, the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat out of coordination with the two lower chambers (ventricles) due to disorganized electrical signals, resulting in poor blood supply to the lungs and the rest of the body. The symptoms of AF typically include heart palpitations, irregular and fast heartbeat, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, and weakness (Mayo Clinic, 2013; NHLBI, 2011). However, individuals with AF may be asymptomatic and not even know that they have the condition until it is identified through an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) test.
AF is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases among the elderly, worldwide. Although AF affects people of all ages, the condition is rare in individuals younger than 40 years of age. The risk for AF increases rapidly with age and is more common in men than women. According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, AF affected approximately 33.5 million persons, or 0.5% of the world's population, in 2010, of which 20.9 million were men and 12.6 million were women (Chugh et al., 2013). The disease burden is likely to increase in the near future due to the projected increase in the population, especially the elderly population (Go et al., 2001; Savelieva and Camm, 2001).
Globally, the prevalence of AF varies widely, depending on the country and the study, ranging from 0.1%-1.6% in Asia (0.1% in India, 1.6% in Japan), 0.95%-3.9% in North America (0.95% in the US, 3.9% in Canada), 1.28%-2.1% in Europe (1.28% in the UK, 2.1% in Germany), and 4.0% in Australia (Ceresne and Upshur, 2002; Go et al., 2001; Iguchi et al., 2008; Kaushal et al., 1995; Majeed et al., 2001; Sturm et al., 2002; Wilke et al., 2013). Due to the asymptomatic nature of the condition, many cases go undetected. Even though the condition itself is not life-threatening, it can be uncomfortable and may require medical attention, as AF increases the risk for stroke and death.
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This report provides an overview of the risk factors and comorbidities, as well as the global and historical trends, for AF in the eight major markets (8MM) (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, and Canada). In addition, this report includes a 10-year epidemiological forecast (2013-2023) for the diagnosed prevalent cases of AF segmented by sex, age (in five-year age groups, beginning at 40 years and ending at ?85 years), and clinical subtypes (paroxysmal, persistent, and permanent AF) in these markets. To forecast the diagnosed prevalent cases of AF in the 8MM, Publisher epidemiologists used only country-specific studies that provided the diagnosed prevalence of AF using uniform diagnostic criteria based on EKG tests. For Japan, Publisher epidemiologists used an indirect approach to obtain the diagnosed prevalence of AF from the total prevalence of AF.
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