Advertisement

Concerned about Afib? Get Aggressive about Losing Weight

Concerned about Afib? Get Aggressive about Losing Weight

Some people describe a surge of romantic passion as your heart “skipping a beat,” but if your doctor tells you this, it may mean you have (or are headed for) atrial fibrillation or afib.  

Afib is a disturbed heart rhythm that happens when rapid, erratic electrical signals make the heart’s two upper chambers (called atria) contract quickly and irregularly. Sometimes you can feel it -- but not always -- and the problem may come and go, or be persistent. For most folks, it ups the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Drugs to control your heart rate and rhythm, blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots, and procedures that deliver low-energy shocks to the heart may treat the condition. But now a study reveals lifestyle changes can slash symptoms without using drugs.

Overweight people with afib went on an eight-week, physician-led program to reduce underlying triggers of afib: elevated levels of blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar; sleep apnea; and tobacco and excess alcohol use. The participants saw a “substantial reduction” in afib severity and symptoms.

So, if you’re diagnosed with afib, talk to your doctor about starting a well-monitored program to lose weight if you need to and to reduce those afib triggers. And start today (afib gets harder to reverse the longer you have it)! Then you and your true love can enjoy the flutter of your heartbeats for years to come. 

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

Heart Defects at Birth May Affect Heart Rhythm—Even Years Later
Heart Defects at Birth May Affect Heart Rhythm—Even Years Later
Odds are, you’ve heard of a congenital heart defect (CHD). It’s the most common type of birth defect—a problem with one or more structures of the hear...
Read More
Is Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) an arrhythmia?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) is a type of arrhythmic disorder. During a regular heartbeat, e...
More Answers
What is the success rate of a cardiac ablation for atrial flutter?
Largo Medical CenterLargo Medical Center
The success rate of a cardiac ablation for an atrial flutter depends on the flutter's location. Card...
More Answers
What Are Some Common Issues with Heart Rhythms?
What Are Some Common Issues with Heart Rhythms?