You can reduce your risk for a common heart arrhythmia, Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you have the very common heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation, or afib for short, one of the first strategies you might consider to bring it under control is weight loss if you’re overweight. That’s according to Hugh Calkins, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Johns Hopkins.

Calkins: The first thing you can do is to have a normal body mass index to try to stave off obesity. There’s lots of data that’s come out mainly from Australia that you can take someone having a lot of afib, you can get the weight off and the afib will melt away. Not necessarily 100% but it helps a lot. When you’re overweight the pressures in the heart go up, the heart thickens, fat outside the heart increases and fat outside the heart causes inflammation of the heart that can trigger afib. So the biggest thing you can do to stave off afib is to maintain a normal body mass index.  :31

Calkins notes that excess weight is also associated with other deleterious health outcomes. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.