Obesity blamed for rise in AF incidence

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is twice as common in the US as previous estimates have suggested, and the number of cases is set to increase threefold over the next 50 years, researchers have said.

They claimed the increase is not just caused by people living longer, and that obesity may be the main contributing factor.

The researchers looked at the age and demographic data of 4,618 Americans who developed AF between 1980 and 2000, and found the incidence of AF had increased by a fifth from 3.04 per 1,000 person-years in 1980 to 3.68 per 1,000 person-years in 2000.

Based on these figures, they calculated that 5.1 million Americans had the condition, rather than the 2.2 million previous estimates had suggested.

The researchers added that increased incidence of obesity over the same period was probably responsible for the increased AF rate.

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