Atrial fibrillation: guiding lessons from epidemiology
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The epidemiology of AF is a challenging and surprising area of medical knowledge. The prevalence of AF may be not changing despite the common perception. It is possible that being earlier disease of the middle age, and because of changing etiology and successful treatment of underlying vascular conditions, AF is shifting to the elderly population. In this population, it becomes more clinically significant, and increasingly leads to disability and death. Screening procedures for silent AF likely are underimplemented and may change understanding of AF epidemiology significantly. Hypertension may be the most common primary etiology of AF, and the possibility of effective primary prevention of AF by strict control of hypertension needs to be evaluated adequately.
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