Atrial Fibrillation and Obesity

Hi Guys,

I was reading an article the other day and it got me thinking.  The article was about Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and how it is related to obesity.  Check out the article here.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, after I read the article, I noticed how many of the patients on the ward had a history of AF and I wondered, was it always this common?  Or with the rise in obesity rates in the Western world, has this number increased?  

Anyway, this study found that the obese people with AF who lost the most weight had greater arrhythmia free survival with and without medication or ablation.  Thats pretty awesome!

 "This study demonstrates that in overweight and obese individuals with symptomatic AF, progressive weight loss has a dose-dependent effect on long-term freedom from AF " 

The research is basically saying that with a bit of weight loss (if the person is obese), they can literally decrease the effects of their AF, if not reverse it!  So think of the side effects of anti-arrhythmic medications and the complications of AF, these could be eliminated in some people, pretty awesome stuff!

But then this raises another topic all together, how prepared are we to educate our patient with AF on weight loss benefits?  I saw something on Facebook the other day where a woman was angry with her GP because they said if she wanted to improve her lower back pain, the best thing for her to do was lose weight.  She was angry because she said she was 'fit' and didn't need to lose weight and was just after analgesia to help with her pain.  I don't think that many health professionals tell their patients to lose weight or make lifestyle changes because of the backlash it can cause.  We assume that people know they are overweight and they know how to lose weight, but do they?  

At the end of the day, we are health professionals looking after our patients, we are educated in health and can educate others to improve their health.  It is easier to educate a patient on medication management then it is on weight management.  Maybe that is why AF is becoming some more prevalent?? 

Funny how a simple article on AF and obesity can have so many other implications!!