Can Weight Loss Reverse Atrial Fibrillation?
If you are obese and have atrial fibrillation (AF), shedding some pounds may help you reverse the course of the condition. It's known that weight loss is important for obese people with AF, by helping with lowering blood pressure, managing sleep apnea, and reducing the frequency of AF episodes. Now there is evidence that weight loss can reverse AF.
The study followed 355 obese AF patients who took part in a doctor-supervised weight-loss program. They received personalized diet plans, started exercising three to four times a week, and got extra help in addressing all of their AF risk factors—including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and smoking. Four years later, people who had managed to lose at least 10 percent of their starting weight were faring best. Overall, 135 people lost that much weight. And 119, or 88 percent, of them had been either AF-free in the past year, or had gone from persistent AF episodes to occasional (or "paroxysmal") AF. The findings were published in 2018 in Europace, a publication of the European Heart Rhythm Association.
A key point is that patients took part in a formal weight-loss program. If you need help with weight management, talk with your doctor. It's vital that you make healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes, rather than turning to a fad diet.