A new study has found that stress and certain lifestyle habits are linked to heart rhythm disorders (atrial fibrillation). Atrial fibrillation is particularly harmful because it increases the risk of blood clotting, stroke, and heart failure.
The study included over 6,500 adults without heart disease who were rated based on seven factors that relate to heart health: smoking, body mass index, physical activity, diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. These are known as Life’s Simple 7.
Those with the highest scores were 41 percent less likely to have atrial fibrillation. Those with average scores were eight percent less likely to develop atrial fibrillation.
Another study looked at the stress levels in over 26,200 women. Sources of stress included work, family, finances, traumatic events (such as the death of a child), and neighborhood issues. Women with atrial fibrillation experienced more financial, traumatic life-event, and neighborhood stress, but only traumatic life-event stress was associated with atrial fibrillation.
Both studies were presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting, in New Orleans.