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Lifestyle Modification as Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation

Claire Raphael, MBBS: I"m Dr Claire Raphael, one of the cardiology fellows at Mayo Clinic. Today we"ll be discussing lifestyle modification for atrial fibrillation. I"m joined by Dr Suraj Kapa, who specializes in arrhythmia disorders. Welcome.

Suraj Kapa, MD: Thank you, Dr Raphael.

Dr Raphael: How do weight and fitness play a role in atrial fibrillation?

Dr Kapa: Weight and fitness play multiple intersecting roles in atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can be an incidental organic disease that happens in anybody, but it can also be the result of an accumulation of factors that can occur in any given person. What I mean by this is the interplay between other forms of heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension as well as other factors including increased weight or poor fitness, can all lead to the pathophysiology or underlying tendency to develop atrial fibrillation. Extensive data show that obesity actually contributes to changes in the heart itself. Diastolic dysfunction as well as increased left atrial size can be the result of obesity or morbid obesity, which can in turn lead to an increased risk for atrial fibrillation…