Atrial fibrillation (AFib) has been linked to obesity for many years now, but a new study shows that weight loss could reverse the effects of the heart arrhythmia disorder. The study, conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia, showed the majority of participants saw some degree of reversal after losing just 10% of their starting weight. More than half kicked AFib completely after keeping the weight off for four years. Weight loss is not a guarantee, but the findings highlight the need for AFib patients to pay careful attention to their weight.
The benefits of weight loss are backed up by numerous experts in the field. The chairman-elect of the electrophysiology section of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, has seen the long-term repercussions on a daily basis. If AFib is related to conditions like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and diabetes, then weight loss can help control all of these issues.
It’s not news that sustained weight can help people with AFib, but it is news that the loss of weight can potentially erase its past effects. It’s a condition that affects up to 6 million Americans, and one that can eventually lead to stroke or heart failure. The stress that arrhythmia puts on the heart can have a cumulative effect, even if it’s not a serious event at the time of the individual episodes.
Those on the study were given specific guidance according to their health, but the general plan is likely one you’ve seen before:
- Cut back: Processed and high-calorie foods were not strictly verboten, but they were not encouraged.
- Move: Three to four times a week, patients exercised to the best of their ability. Starting small, they built toward moderate exercise. Their ultimate goal was 30 minutes every day.
- Monitoring: The health of the participants was managed during the study with consistent monitoring of blood health and general respiration.
Even if you’re not involved in a study, there are ways to develop an equally effective plan. Managing your health may mean doing anything from scheduling more appointments with a consultant, purchasing medical equipment or making lifestyle changes.
Contact Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.
If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. Our team of EP doctors have been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa, and Sun City Center for over a decade.