Navigation Links
Healthy Lifestyles Could Halve Cases of Dangerous Irregular Heartbeat

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- The lives of millions of aging Americans are threatened by an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, which raises their risk for stroke. But a new report finds that the condition doesn't have to arise as often as it does.

In fact, more than half of atrial fibrillation cases could be prevented by curbing common heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking, a new study suggests.

The irregular heartbeat affects more than 2 million Americans, experts say, and "individuals with atrial fibrillation have a higher risk of having strokes and are more likely to die earlier," noted lead researcher Dr. Alvaro Alonso, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.

However, he said that "maintaining a heart-friendly lifestyle, which has a known beneficial impact on cardiovascular risk factors, will not only reduce an individual's risk of developing heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, but it will reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation."

For the study, Alonso's team collected data on almost 14,600 men and women, average age 54, who took part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. That study looked at heart disease among people living in one of four communities in North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland or Minnesota.

During the average 17 years of follow-up, 1,520 people developed atrial fibrillation, according to the report, which is published in the March 28 online edition of Circulation.

Of these cases, about 57 percent were ascribed to one or more known heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and overweight. High blood pressure was the strongest predictor for atrial fibrillation, and was associated with 24 percent of the cases, the researchers found.

In addition, race and gender also played a role. Among black Americans, over 80 percent had one or more risk factors, compared with 60 percent of whites. In fact, only about 2 percent of blacks had good risk factor profiles compared with 3 percent of white men and 10 percent of white women, Alonso's group noted.

Overall, having one or more heart risk factors accounted for 50 percent of atrial fibrillation cases, the researchers added. For white women with at least one risk factor, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation was 50 percent, for white men it was just over 38 percent.

Among blacks with at least one risk factor, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation was 94 percent for women and 91 percent for men, the researchers found.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "it has been very well established that high blood pressure, elevated body mass, diabetes, smoking and underlying structural heart disease are risk factors for atrial fibrillation."

So, he added, "These findings further reinforce the important need to maintain healthy blood pressure, body weight, diet, exercise, and not smoking to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation and other forms of cardiovascular disease."

More information

For more information on atrial fibrillation, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: Alvaro Alonso, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and community health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; March 28, 2011, Circulation, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?
2. In pilot study, screening detects potentially serious heart conditions in healthy children
3. Helicobacter pylori infection linked to decreased iron levels in otherwise healthy children, according to research at UTHealth
4. Healthy lifestyle, positive attitude can help improve patient outcomes
5. New Factor May Spot Heart Risks in Healthy People: Study
6. Obesity and knee osteoarthritis shorten healthy years of life
7. Healthy patients at high risk of cardiac death identified
8. A change of heart keeps bears healthy while hibernating
9. New explanation for heart-healthy benefits of chocolate
10. Kids Fed Unhealthy Foods Learn to Prefer Them
11. Small bowel blood flow in healthy subjects receiving low-dose aspirin
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Healthy Lifestyles Could Halve Cases of Dangerous Irregular Heartbeat
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice ... "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have ... and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient ... patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have ... medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming ... are providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for ... of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, ... Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists ... Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: