Women with type-2 diabetes are 26 per cent more likely to develop AF than women without the condition, US research has suggested.
The researchers said that the findings highlight the importance of regular pulse rate checks among patients with diabetes.
They added that as cases of diabetes rise, AF may follow suit. AF is already the most common arrhythmia in the world.
For this study, 17,372 diabetes patients, with an average age of 58, were matched to a control group without the condition.
They were then followed for any signs of AF over the seven-year study period or until death.
During the study, people with diabetes were more likely than non-diabetes sufferers to develop AF. But after controlling for other risk factors such as obesity, high BP and age, the increased risk was only significant among women.
Women with diabetes were found to be 26 per cent more likely than non-diabetic patients to develop AF.
Lead researcher Dr Gregory Nichols, from the Kaiser Permanente centre for research in Portland, Oregon said: 'Unfortunately our study cannot address why we found a difference in men and women.
'Men with diabetes are also at a higher risk, but the association between the two conditions is not as strong.
'We do think, however, that when diabetes is present, clinicians should listen more carefully through stethoscopes, and ask about things like fatigue that might be indications of AF.'
North Yorkshire GP Dr Terry McCormack, former chairman of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said GPs should be monitoring heart rate.
'A pulse check, including recording of rate and rhythm, should be a QOF requirement for all patients with long-term conditions,' he said.