Over the past years, prevention and control of risk factors has begun to play an important role in the management of patients prone to develop atrial fibrillation (AF). A considerable number of risk factors that contribute to the creation of a predisposing substrate for AF has been identified over the years. Although certain AF risk factors such as age, gender, genetic predisposition, or race are unmodifiable, controlling modifiable risk factors may represent an invaluable tool in the management of AF patients. In the recent decades, numerous studies have evaluated the mechanisms linking different risk factors to AF, but the exact degree of atrial remodeling induced by each factor remains unknown. Elucidating these mechanisms is essential for initiating personalized therapies in patients prone to develop AF. The present review aims to provide an overview of the most relevant modifiable risk factors involved in AF occurrence, with a focus on the mechanisms by which these factors lead to AF initiation and perpetuation.
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