By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Atrial fibrillation is a very serious cardiac issue.

The irregular heart rate can increase the risk for stroke, heart failure, and even death.

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If you look at the statistics, people with atrial fibrillation are almost five times more likely to suffer from a stroke.

Now, there is the news from the journal Circulation which finds that the risk of developing atrial fibrillation in men dramatically climbs after the age of 50.

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The increased risk of atrial fibrillation in women increases after age 60.

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of a-fib: these include eating a healthy diet with vegetables fruits and whole grain, not smoking cigarettes, and exercising at least moderately 30 minutes for five days a week.

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The most important thing we can do is get a check up with your physician who can listen to your heart to see if you have atrial fibrillation and don’t know it.