National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month: Sleep apnea, heart attack, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and stroke

sleep-apnea-raises-atrial-fibrillation-riskSeptember is National Atrial Fibrillation Month, so we present our recent news stories discussing atrial fibrillation and associated conditions, including sleep apnea, heart attack, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and stroke.

Atrial fibrillation is a common cause of irregular heart rhythm. It is also a known risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The older you are, the higher the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, and that is why taking care of your heart health is so important.

Sleep apnea raises atrial fibrillation risk in people with pacemakers


Sleep apnea may raise the risk of atrial fibrillation in people with pacemakers. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing pauses numerous times a night. Sleep apnea is a known risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but its risk in patients with pacemakers has been largely unknown.

Researcher Dr. Andrea Mazza said, “In recent years, pacemakers have increasingly become equipped with sleep apnea-monitoring measures, and in using these tools, we were able to identify how pacemaker patients with sleep apnea are at risk for developing atrial fibrillation. Our results are the first to show that patients with pacemakers and sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation.” Continue reading…

atrial-fibrillationAtrial fibrillation associated with heart attacks, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and sudden cardiac death: Study

Atrial fibrillation is associated with heart attacks, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and sudden cardiac death. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat, which is well known to be linked to a higher risk of strokes. The researchers aimed to investigate the link between atrial fibrillation with non-stroke health events as well.

The researchers analyzed the results of 104 studies involving over nine million participants. The researchers found that atrial fibrillation was associated with a wide variety of outcomes, including all-cause mortality, ischemic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Additional analysis also shows that the associations between atrial fibrillation and these health outcomes was consistent. Continue reading…

atrial-fibrillation-irregular-heartbeat-riskAtrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) risk and diabetes mellitus linked in new study

Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) risk and diabetes mellitus have been found to be linked in a new study. The study was conducted on the general population in China where researchers found that diabetes mellitus is a stand-alone risk factor for atrial fibrillation even after adjusting for other cardiovascular factors.

The researchers examined the correlation between atrial fibrillation (AF) and diabetes mellitus (DM) in a cross-sectional study that involved 11,956 residents over the age of 35 from the general population in China. The participants filled out a questionnaire, underwent a physical exam, and completed an echocardiogram and electrocardiogram.

The prevalence of atrial fibrillation was higher in those with diabetes mellitus, compared to those without the condition. Atrial fibrillation was also higher in diabetes mellitus patients than in patients without diabetes mellitus but in a hypertensive subgroup. Even after adjustments for other cardiovascular risk factors, the association between atrial fibrillation and diabetes mellitus still remained. Continue reading…

atrial-fibrillation-hyperthyroidismAtrial fibrillation risk increases in people with hyperthyroidism, compared to those with normal thyroid function

Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) risk is higher in people with hyperthyroidism, compared to individuals with normal thyroid function. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is overactive and produces too many hormones. The findings suggest that doctors should monitor heart rhythms in hyperthyroidism patients.

The connection between overt hyperthyroidism and atrial fibrillation is well known, but there isn’t much evidence on whether milder hyperthyroidism is associated with an irregular heartbeat.

Furthermore, there is very limited data available on irregular heartbeat and hypothyroidism link.
A Denmark-based research team aimed to examine any possible link between atrial fibrillation in a wide spectrum of thyroid disorders. Continue reading…

stroke-risk-atrial-fibrillationStroke risk higher among alcohol drinkers with atrial fibrillation


Individuals with atrial fibrillation (heart rhythm disorder) who drink alcohol are more likely to experience stroke, compared to those who don’t drink. Study leader Dr. Faris Al-Khalili said, “Doctors should ask their [atrial fibrillation] patients about alcohol use and advise patients to cut down if they are drinking more than is recommended.”

The study included over 250,000 Swedish adults with atrial fibrillation, a known risk factor for stroke.

During the follow-up period of five years, the researcher’s uncovered two risk factors associated with a higher risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients: age and alcohol-related hospitalization. Continue reading…


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