Association with body size: higher risk of atrial fibrillation in women

Association with body size: higher risk of atrial fibrillation in women

relation to body size
Women at higher risk of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is an interrupted heartbeat and is one of the most common cardiac arrhythmias. It often affects women and men differently – but differently than before. The risk of this disease appears to be linked to body size.

Women are at higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation than men – taking into account differences in body size. So far, several studies have shown that the risk of such cardiac arrhythmias is higher in men than in women. According to the new study, however, this result is due to the fact that men are taller than women on average and the risk of the disease increases with height. With respect to other risk factors such as age, ethnic origin or hypertension, there was no significant difference between the sexes in the present study. The study by Christine Albert’s group from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (California, USA) is In the journal “JAMA Cardiology” appeared.

It has been a mystery to medical professionals why men appear to be at greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation. “However, our study surprisingly indicates that if a man and a woman have the same height, the woman is at greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation,” Albert said in a statement from his institute.

This has radically changed the approach to finding the causes of gender differences: “Instead of asking why women are protected, we now need to try to understand why women are at greater risk.” The research team’s analysis showed: Among men and women of similar height, the risk of developing atrial fibrillation is up to 39 percent higher than that of women. If you also take body weight into account, the risk is 49 percent higher.

Data of over 25,000 people

The study, conducted between November 2011 and March 2014, involved more than 25,000 women and men without cardiovascular disease. Men were 50 years of age or older, women 55 years of age or older. Among the participants in the study, 51 percent were women, 20 percent were black. They were followed for between 5.1 and 5.7 years.

For most physical characteristics and risk factors, there were only very small differences between the sexes. However, when the researchers kept body weight or height constant in the analysis, the women were found to have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation. “Atrial fibrillation is a disease that we want to prevent, regardless of gender,” emphasizes Albert. The medical community should take the result as an opportunity to talk to all patients, whether male or female, about the risk of atrial fibrillation.

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