This recent article which was well executed, shows that in obese subjects with atrial fibrillation (a common problem which is associated with significant risk for stroke), weight loss results in less burden of symptoms and severity of symptoms. There were a few important points born out in this study from Australia.
The premise of the study was that it is firstly observed that obesity is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. BMI is readily calculated from a person’s weight and height. The question asked was whether weight reduction can reduce the burden of atrial fibrillation. Both groups in the study were counseled on weight loss and had routine medical care as well as medical optimization equally.
Point one. The intervention group used meal replacements to achieve rapid and initial weight loss. Meal replacement for weight management works. I have been aware of this on a personal and as a provider basis for years. Those of us with weight issues need to think of Purina For People. I recommend Pharmanex’s TR 90 program and formulated nutrition/protein supplementation from Pure Encapsulations and Pharmanex’s line of morning shakes as a strategy for weight loss and weight control.
Point two: It worked superiorly. At the beginning the groups had BMI’s averaging above 32. At the end of 15 months the intervention group’s average BMI was 27.2 while the control group had a BMI of 32.5 (better than in the beginning of the trial but barely). At the beginning of the trial the average weight in the intervention group was 217.8 lbs and at 15 months they were at 176 lbs.
Point three: All risk factors improved statistically. HDL cholesterol improved (the good stuff), inflammation, and blood pressure improved.
Point four: The heart remodeled (left atrial enlargement improved, and left ventricular septal thickness improved) favorably with the larger amount of weight loss. This translated to less atrial fibrillation.
Point five: Intervention involved intense supervision and health system support. Wouldn’t it just make more sense to not get so overweight to begin with?
Point six: There was less blood pressure medication use in the intervention group but not for the control group.
Point seven: There were a lot of newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients and treatment in both groups. This did not go down at the end of the treatment study but rather went up 4-5 fold in both groups (with 2 less cases in the intervention group). If you have or had obesity and atrial fibrillation, perhaps you should be screened for sleep apnea.
For those readers who are patients as well, remember that I have been offering a special and tailored approach to health and wellness for years. Nutrition and dietitian services combined with my lipidology certification offers me a unique skill set to help folks minimize risk for cardiovascular disease. Invest in yourself and your health so that you can receive dividends of benefits with lower insurance risk, lower overall healthcare expenditures and personal health and satisfaction.