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Atrial fibrillation: hypertension, diabetes and extra pounds increase the risk

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Atrial fibrillation: hypertension, diabetes and extra pounds increase the risk

Let’s get used to placing the index finger of one hand on the wrist of the other arm. And to check whether the heart tends to accelerate, perhaps even reaching 100 beats per minute when we are at rest. If this happens, talk to your doctor.

The acceleration of the pace could be based on atrial fibrillation, which can cause irregularities in the heart rate and, indeed, an increase in perceived beats. It’s just that sometimes you don’t think about the picture, which perhaps doesn’t cause classic disorders such as palpitations. However, it is essential to identify the arrhythmic pathology in time, also to implement the most suitable treatments on a case-by-case basis.

What increases the onset of the disease

The objective is twofold: on the one hand we must try to “bring back” to normal the handful of cells that lead to the alteration, on the other hand we must keep the blood fluid to limit the dangers of embolisms towards the cerebral vessels and therefore of stroke. If it is true that cases of arrhythmia increase with advancing age, it is equally undeniable that there are pathological conditions (which are potentially correctable) and lifestyles that favor the onset of the pathological picture.

What brings them together is a search that appeared on Lancet Regional Health Europecoordinated by scholars from the University of Liverpool Deirdre Lane e Gregory Lip (corresponding author Eduard Shantsila) and by experts from Seoul University, on European and international data.

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Beware of high blood pressure and chronic respiratory diseases

The research examined a very large amount of studies on the topic, focusing mainly on European investigations. And he lined up the elements that can somehow increase the chances of atrial fibrillation appearing or, on the contrary, reduce them.

According to what the analysis reports, the presence of a precedent heart attack myocardial increase the risk of developing arrhythmia in percentages varying between 60 and 77%. The danger then emerges from the various studiestension and diabetes: the first is associated with an increase in risk from 1.7 to two and a half times (remember however that antihypertensive therapy corrects the situation), while for the diabetes the relative risk increases by 1.28 times. It should also be noted that the COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes a doubling of the risk of atrial fibrillation. In short: to reduce the chances of arrhythmias of the atrium, following the doctor’s instructions carefully in case of chronicity of this type appears essential.

But the lifestyle chapter should not be underestimated. Sedentary lifestyle represents a risk factor, as doesobesity: on the contrary, losing excess weight can reduce the risk of relapses and symptoms of fibrillation. There is also a linear relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of arrhythmia, related to the dose consumed. To protect the heart, therefore, we must always be careful not to overdo it with alcohol.

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For women, also watch out for stress and insomnia

“Modern anticoagulant therapy has dramatically reduced the risk of stroke and systemic thromboembolism in people with atrial fibrillation – reports in a note from the University of Liverpool Shantsila. But it still compromises quality of life, increases the risk of stroke and heart failure, and is linked to cognitive impairment. We wanted to help address the need for a more complete understanding of the risk factors that predispose to the development of this arrhythmia, its complications, and interventions to mitigate these risks.”

One last fact: although it is generally reported that men have a prevalence of atrial fibrillation that is 30-70% higher than women, the picture also occurs frequently among women. Indeed, estimates say that approximately 25% of the female population, with the arrival of menopause, would progressively suffer from atrial fibrillation. Even and especially in the presence of stress and insomnia.

This is recalled by a study published some time ago on Journal of the American Heart Association, which examined data on more than 83,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79. In approximately ten years of observation, more or less one in four women has developed arrhythmia. As the main author of the research recalls, Susan X. Zhaoa cardiologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, “in my general cardiology practice, I see many menopausal women in perfect physical health who struggle with poor sleep and negative psychological emotional feelings or experiences, which we now know could put them at risk for develop atrial fibrillation”.

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