Women with diabetes at increased risk for irregular heart rhythm

Sep 28, 2009

Diabetes increases by 26 percent the likelihood that women will develop atrial fibrillation (AF), a potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythm that can lead to stroke, heart failure, and chronic fatigue. These are the findings of a new Kaiser Permanente study, published in the October issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

While other studies have found that patients with are more likely to have AF, this is the first large study—involving nearly 35,000 Kaiser Permanente patients over the course of seven years—to isolate the effect of diabetes and determine that it is an independent risk factor for women.

“The most important finding from our study is that women with diabetes have an increased risk of developing this ,” said the study’s lead author, Greg Nichols, PhD, investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. “Men with diabetes are also at higher risk, but the association between the two conditions is not as strong. For men, obesity and high blood pressure are bigger risk factors from diabetes.”

“AF is the most common arrhythmia in the world, and diabetes is one of the most common and costly health conditions. Our study points out that there is a connection between these two growing epidemics—one we should pay closer attention to, especially among women,” says Sumeet Chugh, MD, co-author and associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. “The gender differences need to be looked at more closely because they could have significant implications for how we treat diabetes in men and women.”

Atrial fibrillation occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly and too fast, causing blood to pool and clot. If the clot travels out of the and becomes lodged in an artery or in the brain, it can cause a stroke. About 2.2 million Americans are diagnosed with AF; however, many more people have the condition but don’t know it. Diabetes affects more than 23 million Americans—and, according to the study, nearly 4 percent, or 1 million, have atrial fibrillation.

The study involved 17,372 patients in Kaiser Permanente’s diabetes registry in Oregon and Washington and an equal number of non-diabetic patients, matched for age and sex. Researchers used Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the world’s largest civilian electronic health records system, to identify the non-diabetic patients. The two groups were followed for an average of 7.2 years until Dec., 31, 2008, or until they died or left the health plan. At the start of the study 3.6 percent of the patients with diabetes had AF, vs. only 2.5 percent of the non-diabetic patients—a difference of 44 percent. During the study period, diabetics were more likely than non-diabetics to develop AF. But after controlling for other factors like obesity, high blood pressure and age, the increased risk was only significant among women. with diabetes were 26 percent more likely than their non-diabetic counterparts to develop AF.

Source: Kaiser Permanente (news : web)

Explore further: Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kidney disease increases the risk of stroke in patients

Mar 04, 2009

Chronic kidney disease increases the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of heart arrhythmia, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente researchers in the current online issue ...

Study finds diabetes doubling before motherhood

Apr 28, 2008

Diabetes before motherhood more than doubled in six years among teenage and adult women, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

Osteoporosis drug may be associated with irregular heartbeat

Apr 28, 2008

Alendronate, a medication used to prevent fractures in women with osteoporosis, may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of abnormal heart rhythm, according to a report in the April 28 issue ...

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

18 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

Jan 30, 2015

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.