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Larger Men at Greater Risk for Atrial Fibrillation

Swedish study says since children are getting bigger, condition may become more common

WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Larger men are more likely to suffer atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythms) than other men, according to Swedish researchers.

Beginning in 1970, the study surveyed more than 7,000 men aged 45 to 55, including questions about their lifestyle and their weight at age 20. That information was compared to data in Sweden's National Patient Register.

"Atrial fibrillation proved to be significantly more common both among those men who were big during their youth, as well as among those who gained a considerable amount of weight later on in life," wrote the University of Gothenburg researchers.

The study is published in the current issue of the European Heart Journal.

Among the men in the study, being large as a young adult didn't necessarily mean being obese. It was more likely they were simply tall and well-built, the researchers said.

"Since both weight and height are increasing among young people, it's quite likely that atrial fibrillation will become more common when today's young men reach their 60s and 70s, particularly if the tendency to put on several kilos later on in life continues," noted Dr. Annika Rosengren, professor of medicine, and colleagues.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about atrial fibrillation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg, news release, April 3, 2009

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