As of August 22, 2017, the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) reports that an estimated 2.7–6.1 million people in the United States have AFib.With more and more people developing AFib, taking measures to combat it is just plain good sense.Wondering something you can do to work with your AFib?Consider atrial fibrillation and weight loss. When you take simple steps to reduce your weight, you may also extend your life and improve your quality of life.
The Connection Between Atrial Fibrillation and Weight Loss
For people who have AFib and obesity, atrial fibrillation can be more severe.Obesity means you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
A BMI is a value derived from the weight and height of a person.The BMI is a measurement used attempting to quantify the amount of an individual’s tissue mass.Your mass is made up of muscle, fat and bone.Once you calculate a body mass measurement, you then can use that number to categorize yourself as being underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on that value.
Basically, a person’s BMI is a person’s numeric measurement of how thick or thin the person is.Once the BMI is calculated, health professionals can discuss weight issues more objectively with their patients. Suffice it to say, if your BMI number is too high, you may be severely overweight. Being very overweight (called obese) can greatly complicate your AFib.Lucklily, if you shed at least 10% of your excess body weight, research shows you are 6 times more likely to dramatically reduce the burden of your atrial fibrillation.
What Does Excess Weight Do to Your Heart?
Excess fat tissue, especially around a person’s waist, directly affects your heart. Excess fat can cause unwanted and unhealthy electrical and chemical changes to your heart. Researchers also know excessive fat can increase inflammation in your body.In addition to raising your body’s inflammation levels, obese people are at increased risk for other health issues.Some of these issues are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea and diabetes.Increased risk for developing AFib is linked to each of these unnatural physical body conditions.
Bottom line? Those with higher BMI’s are at increased risk for having AFib. If you are already experiencing AFib, you are encouraged to start a program of reducing your excess weight.If you need help shedding excess pounds, contact your doctor who is your health partner here to help you be your healthiest. There is no specific diet that is specifically designed for patients with atrial fibrillation. However, I frequently recommend the healthy heart diet tips from The American Heart Association, which are good for anyone with heart disease, not just atrial fibrillation.
Looking for an easy-to-talk-to heart specialist in Houston, TX? Make an appointment with me, Dr. Morales by calling 281.446.3645. I do understand how frightening having AFib is. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have to educate your family about this disease.
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