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Larger Women Have Nearly Three-Fold Higher Risk of A-Fib

Risk of atrial fibrillation rises along with body size, but remain low overall, researchers say

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TUESDAY, April 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The larger a woman's body size as a young adult, the more likely she is to develop atrial fibrillation later in life, according to a study presented at EuroPrevent 2017, a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, held from April 6 to 8 in Malaga, Spain.

Annika Rosengren, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues reviewed data on 1,522,358 Swedish women. Using a national birth registry, the researchers gathered information on women with a first pregnancy (average age, 28). The registry contained data on height and weight, and information on other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and smoking. The investigators tracked the women for 16 years on average.

During that time, the researchers found that 7,001 women were hospitalized with atrial fibrillation, at an average age of 49. Compared to the smallest women, the largest women had a 2.61-times increased risk of atrial fibrillation, after adjusting for other risk factors. The investigators also found that the risk increased with women's initial body size.

"The implications may be substantial, because the world population is growing taller as well as heavier," Rosengren told HealthDay. "We might be looking at substantially more atrial fibrillation in the future."

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