Obesity increases risk for irregular heart beat in young women

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Screening teen athletes for heart conditionAccording to recent findings, obese women are at a twofold-increased risk in developing atrial fibrillation (AF) compared to their healthy-weight counterparts. For the study, published in the journal Europace, a group of Danish researchers analyzed medical registries of over 270,000 healthy women. The subjects had an average age of 30.6, had given birth to their first child between 2004 and 2009, and were followed for an average of 4.6 years.

Researchers divided the cohort into five groups: underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, and extremely obese. After adjustment for age, comorbidity, medication and smoking, the results showed that obese women had a twofold increase in the risk of developing AF, compared with healthy weight women. Furthermore, that risk more than tripled in very obese women.

While the study did not address how obesity promotes the development of AF, lead researcher Dr. Deniz Karasoy, a cardiology fellow at Gentofte University Hospital, in Copenhagen, consulted the literature. Other studies have looked at biological explanations and have found that obesity causes left atrial dilatation and dysfunction of the left ventricle, which might be possible explanations," he told MedPage Today.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava comments We now see that obesity can impair yet another health parameter. AF is not life-threatening in and of itself, but it is associated with several adverse outcomes, including stroke, so it becomes another good reason to avoid or treat obesity.