Weight Loss and Exercise May Ease Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms

According to a story from Harvard Health Publishing, a common problem with the upper chambers of the heart which cause the heart to pump inefficiently may be made less severe with a routine of exercise and a focus on weight loss, so say cardiac researchers.

10 studies cited in a literature review published by The American Journal of Cardiology on its website in February show that patients can decrease their symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AF) by engaging in regular exercise and losing at least 10% of their body weight.

Patients with AF experience a rapidly quivering heart, sometimes described as fluttering. Due to the inefficiency of the heart, these patients can faint, feel dizzy or may complain of unexplained exhaustion or lack of energy.

“Evidence exists to suggest that yoga, weight loss, and moderate exercise are associated with reductions in AF burden and symptoms. Evidence is greatest for weight loss and moderate exercise.” — study researchers

Strong evidence to support the theory that AF can be controlled by lifestyle changes was observed in the four studies done on exercise and three studies focused on lowering body weight. The patients who experienced the best results reduced their body weight by 10% or more. Subjects were put on a regimen of daily exercise and a restricted-calorie diet. Patients saw a reduction of both duration and frequency of AF attacks.

Exercise, when done moderately to vigorously, was linked to a reduction of symptoms in AF patients and measures of quality of life were also enhanced. The authors noted that these lifestyle changes work in a complimentary fashion with medical procedures and pharmaceuticals in controlling AF successfully. According to the American Heart Association approximately 2.7 million people in the United States have AF.


Donald Blake

Donald Blake

Donald Blake has a BS in Communication Studies. He has a lengthy tenure in the healthcare, media and education fields. He is dedicated to improving the lives of those with rare diseases through his knowledge of healthcare and communications.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

What are your thoughts on being a rare disease advocate? Share your stories, thoughts, and hopes with the Patient Worthy community!

Close Menu