Weight loss improves heart function

atrial fibrillation

However, I still have some heart rhythm issues – a legacy of years of obesity.  The stress of carrying so much weight caused the left atrium of my heart to enlarge, and I get occasional atrial fibrillation.

A new study shows that gastric bypass improves heart function in obese people.  The left atrium continues to grow in size in obese people, but stays stable in those who have gastric bypass.  I lost an equivalent amount of weight, without surgery.

Overweight and obese people are 2-3 times more likely to develop abnormal heart rhythms during their lives.  I already have a history of intermittent episodes, but hope to reduce them as much as possible by exercising, controlling my weight, and taking fish oil (though another recent study did not show a benefit of fish oil).

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

3 Comments:

  1. Related, began a low carb diet about a year ago at 190 lbs and AFTER losing 30, started having bouts of what I now know is bi and trigeminy. This 48 year old female, after hearing that heart attack symptoms are different for women, went straight to the ER … twice. I’m back to dieting after yoyoing back up to 190, but still have occasional episodes. Hopefully they don’t come back like they did the first time I lost the weight. Maybe there are people that shouldn’t lose weight???

  2. Related, began a low carb diet about a year ago at 190 lbs and AFTER losing 30, started having bouts of what I now know is bi and trigeminy. This 48 year old female, after hearing that heart attack symptoms are different for women, went straight to the ER … twice. I’m back to dieting after yoyoing back up to 190, but still have occasional episodes. Hopefully they don’t come back like they did the first time I lost the weight. Maybe there are people that shouldn’t lose weight???

  3. I can’t diagnose in cyberspace. A few thoughts, though:
    1. Association does not mean causation
    2. Abnormal electrolyte (mineral) levels in the blood can contribute to heart rhythm issues.
    If you followed a very strict low-carb diet with the goal of achieving ketosis, then you may have put yourself at risk of heart rhythm issues http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14672862:
    “Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet. The need to further explore and communicate the untoward side-effects of low-carbohydrate diets should be an important public health message from nutrition professionals.”
    3. I DO NOT EAT A LOW CARB DIET! I eat low-glycemic complex carbs that release sugar into the blood slowly. Specifically, I eat OATMEAL for breakfast, and SWEET potatoes or BROWN rice at lunch and dinner. See http://www.howilost100lbs.com/what-do-you-say-now-dr-atkins

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