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You've Got the Beat

You've Got the Beat

Here's another reason to stick with your New Year's weight loss efforts. Maintaining a healthy weight could help ward off dangerous heart arrhythmias.

Carrying around excess pounds may increase a person's risk of atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that produces abnormal heart rhythms. These heart arrhythmias increase a person's risk of stroke. If you need help sticking to your weight loss goals, enlist an exercise buddy or the support of friends and family in your endeavors.

The association between excess weight and atrial fibrillation was present in both men and women in a study. More than 2.2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heartbeat that increases the risk of stroke and early death. A study revealed that obese people have a 50 percent greater chance of developing atrial fibrillation than people who have normal body weights. Healthy eating habits incorporating portion control, a menu full of nutrient-rich and calorie-poor foods, and regular exercise go a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight. If you need help in choosing a weight loss plan, or if you have a medical condition, ask your healthcare provider for direction and advice regarding safe and effective weight loss methods.

Medically reviewed in March 2019.

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