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Men, watch your weight: Obesity increases irregular heartbeat risk

A German study found that men developed atrial fibrillation at 50 years of age, while women developed the condition at 60 or at older age.

fitness Updated: Oct 17, 2017 08:43 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Obesity health risks,Obesity heart health in men,Atrial fibrillation
Researchers advised weight reduction for both men and women to avoid the risk of atrial fibrillation.(Shutterstock)

Overweight men are more likely to develop irregular heartbeat at 50 years of age, nearly a decade earlier than women, according to a study.

The findings showed that men were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation -- a condition in which the upper chambers of the heart, or atria, quiver instead of beat to move blood effectively -- at 50 years of age, while women developed the condition at 60 or at older age.

This increase was attributed majorly to a higher body mass index (BMI) in men (31%) compared to women (18%).

“We advise weight reduction for both men and women,” said Christina Magnussen, medical specialist at the University Heart Center in Hamburg, Germany.

Higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (inflammation marker) were also found to increase the risk of atrial fibrillation in elderly men. (Shutterstock)

“As elevated body mass index seems to be more detrimental for men, weight control seems to be essential, particularly in overweight and obese men,” Magnussen added.

Further, higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (inflammation marker) was also found to increase the risk in elderly men. All these combined increased the risk of stroke by five times as well as more than tripled a person’s risk of dying by heart-related causes,the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal Circulation.

“It’s crucial to better understand modifiable risk factors of atrial fibrillation,” Magnussen said.

“If prevention strategies succeed in targeting these risk factors, we expect a noticeable decline in new-onset atrial fibrillation,” he noted.

For the study, the team reviewed records of 79,793 people (aged 24 to 97) who were followed for a period of 12.6 to a maximum of 28.2 years. The condition developed in about 24% of both men and women by age 90.

First Published: Oct 17, 2017 08:43 IST