Exercise may trim atrial fibrillation risk

August 28, 2014

According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, postmenopausal women who increase their physical activity may reduce their risk of developing incident atrial fibrillation (AF).

 

According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, postmenopausal women who increase their physical activity may reduce their risk of developing incident atrial fibrillation (AF).

Led by researchers at the Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the study was based on data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study, which followed 93,676 postmenopausal women for an average of 11.5 years. Diagnostic codes from Medicare claims and WHI-ascertained hospitalization records were used to identify incident AF. The interaction between physical activity and obesity and its association with incident AF was evaluated with a multivariate Cox’s hazard regression model adjusted for clinical risk factors.

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After excluding women with incomplete data, underweight body mass index (BMI), and prevalent AF, 81,317 women remained and 9792 of them developed AF. The average age of effected women was 63.4 years, 7.8% were African American and 3.6% were Hispanic. Reduced physical activity (>9 vs. 0 metabolic equivalent task hours per week; hazard ratio [HR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85 to 0.96) and increased BMI (HR, 1.12 per 5-kg/m2 increase; 95% [CI], 1.10 to 1.14) were both independently associated with higher rates of AF after multivariate adjustment. However, the AF risk from obesity could be mitigated with increased levels of physical activity (interaction P = 0.033).

Investigators concluded that physical activity can lower the rate of incident AF and modify the risk of AF in obese women.


 

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