Obesity increases risk for common heart rhythm disorder
Obesity increases the risk for atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure, a new analysis recently published in JACC Clinical Electrophysiology suggests.
Researchers reviewed data from 51 previously published studies covering more than 600,000 people and found that obesity also made it more likely that patients with atrial fibrillation would have complications after surgery to treat the condition.
"A lower risk of developing heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation can be added to the list of health benefits from weight reduction," senior study author Dr. Prashanthan Sanders, director of the center for heart rhythm disorders at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said by email. "Weight reduction in patients who have already established atrial fibrillation is also likely to be beneficial."
Millions of people worldwide have atrial fibrillation, which happens when rapid, disorganised electrical signals cause the heart's two upper chambers - the atria - to contract very quickly and irregularly. This stops blood from pumping completely into the heart's lower chambers, or ventricles, and prevents both portions of the heart from working together properly. Symptoms can come and go.
Globally, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint disorders and certain cancers. An obese person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. If a person's body weight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese.