Obesity Raises AFib Risk
Add atrial fibrillation to the list of health conditions related to obesity. That's the conclusion of researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who, after an analysis of more than 50 previously published studies, found that obesity increases the risk of developing the heart rhythm disorder.
To conduct their study, the researchers reviewed data from more than 600,000 people to see how obesity might influence the odds of developing atrial fibrillation. The studies provided data on how often obese people developed atrial fibrillation or had a surgical procedure known as ablation to ease electrical problems in the heart. From this data, the researchers found that every five-point increase in a person's body mass index (BMI) was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. They also found that each five-point increase in BMI was linked to a 13 percent greater risk that obese people would still have atrial fibrillation episodes after an ablation procedure.
While the research shows a definite correlation between AFib and weight, the researchers note that obesity contributes to many other conditions that can make atrial fibrillation more likely to develop, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and inflammation. They also suggest that weight loss could ease the symptoms of AFib and also lessen the risk of other serious conditions.