Atrial fibrillation affects as many as one in three persons in the industrialised/Western world during a lifespan. And when it comes to preventing the condition, the medical doctor’s best advice is often weight loss. However, a new study, published in the journal Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine, shows that the risk of atrial fibrillation is not linked to the amount of fat, but rather to the fat-free weight.
“It appears that people with high fat-free weight do have a high risk, regardless of whether they have a lot of fat on their body or not,” said study researcher from Fenger-Gron Aarhus University in Denmark.
In many people’s eyes, large muscle mass is likely seen as the opposite of high body fat, but it turns out that to some extent, the same people have a lot of both.”And when these people have a high risk of atrial fibrillation, we tend to interpret it as proof that too much fat is harmful,” Grom added.
The study, which is based on a review of the literature on the importance of body fat and fat-free mass for the risk of atrial fibrillation, also contains a meta-analysis which summarises the results of all relevant studies in the field.
The starting point for the work was, among other things, the research group’s own study, in which they analysed the body mass of 56,000 participants in the Danish ‘Diet, Cancer and Health’ project.
“Our results point to the importance of remembering to also look for this condition in people who are muscular and without overwhelming body fat – even though they appear to be very healthy and robust,” he said
However, the researcher emphasises that the results encompass only the risk of atrial fibrillation and do not gainsay that too much body fat increases the incidence of infarctions, diabetes and many other health problems.