Fast heartbeat – usually over 140 beats per minute. A patient can take his/her own pulse by placing a finger on the wrist or neck.

The following signs and symptoms are also possible. Some of these signs and symptoms are similar to ones we experience when our heartbeat increases with vigorous physical exercise:

  • Dizziness.
  • Light headedness – light headedness differs from dizziness in medical terminology. A person with light headedness feels he/she is going to faint.
  • Confusion.
  • Palpitations – a racing, uncomfortable sensation in the chest. A flopping in the chest.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Weakness.
  • Chest pains during physical exertion.
  • Angina – chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle does not get enough blood. Angina is more likely if the heartbeat is very fast and the heart is being put under a lot of strain.
  • Hypotension – low blood pressure.
  • Heart failure – the heart does not pump blood around the body efficiently.
  • Disorders of the heart muscle.

Some people have atrial fibrillation and have no signs or symptoms and the condition is only detected during a routine medical examination or after a health problem.

What is the difference between a sign and a symptom?

A sign is something the physician can see or feel. For example, skin pallor, or a rash.
A symptom is something the patient experiences. For example, chest pains, or dizziness.