Two ‘eating behaviors’ that could ‘nearly double’ the risk of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs when the heartbeat suddenly becomes faster or irregular. If ignored or poorly managed, the consequences can be disastrous for the heart and brain. Stroke is one of the most lethal conditions associated with AF, but symptoms can reduce quality of life, even in the short term. To prevent the condition from developing, experts suggest that two eating behaviors are best avoided.

In an article for the American College of Cardiology, Edward Chu, MD, Miami-based electrophysiologist, explained that certain dietary patterns can be harmful to the heart.

“In some cases, the dietary trigger for AF may not be what is eaten, but when it is eaten,” the expert explained.

Behaviors such as skipping breakfast and regularly eating late at night can disrupt the organ by disrupting the heart rhythm.

In 2014, a study of over 47,000 participants looked at the effects of eating two hours of dinner before bed at least three times a week, as well as skipping breakfast three times a week.

READ MORE: Herbal Supplements Can Cause Dangerous Heart Rhythms

“After adjusting for other lifestyle habits and comorbid cardiovascular disease, those who ate late at night and skipped breakfast were almost twice as likely to develop AF as those who did not exhibit these behaviors,” Chu explained. .

He continued: “The authors suggested that the trigger for AF may be due to an untimely disruption of blood circulation and vagal tone associated with gastrointestinal motility and metabolic function.”

A study published in the journal Future Cardiology in 2022 found that there may be several other ways that skipping breakfast affects heart rate.

Some experts suggest that low blood sugar, a common result of skipping meals, can lead to heart palpitations.


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High blood pressure, another well-known complication of skipping breakfast, can also play a role.

Having chronically high blood pressure that is poorly controlled significantly increases the risk of atrial fibrillation.

This is why certain foods, such as sodium, are widely recommended for at-risk patients.

What are the symptoms of AF?

Common signs of atrial fibrillation include palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and missed heartbeats.

READ MORE: Atrial fibrillation is a complication that increases the risk of stroke

The sensation of pounding in the heart can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Because symptoms appear sporadically or not at all, diagnosing AF during a GP visit can be difficult.

As a result, a large number of patients are unaware of their condition until a doctor accidentally discovers it.

Dr. Yasik Javid, Clinical Head of Cardiovascular Prevention at the East Midlands Clinics Network, believes there is a need to raise awareness about the condition of the heart and its symptoms.

He said: “AF is a harbinger of stroke, which we know can be devastating to individuals and their families.

“I want to reassure people that you can live a normal and active life after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

“If atrial fibrillation is not diagnosed, the risk of stroke and other complications can be very high, so don’t put off getting a diagnosis if you have any suspicions.

“I ask that at the first sign, you might think that your heart was fluttering, or the rhythm became irregular, or something has changed, you make an appointment with your therapist.”

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