The impact of lifestyle intervention on atrial fibrillation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia, attributable to several factors that may be amenable through lifestyle modification. There is emerging evidence to suggest that the successful management of several cardiovascular risk factors [obesity, hypertension (HTN), diabetes mellitus, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)] can lead to fewer complications and atrial fibrillation prevention. However, the long-term sustainability and reproducibility of these effects have yet to be explored in larger studies. This review explores recent findings for exercise and lifestyle modifications to promote alternative strategies to interventional therapy for atrial fibrillation management.

Recent findings

Several studies have highlighted the impact of established modifiable risk factors on atrial fibrillation burden and the potential for effective risk management in a clinical setting. Higher SBP, HTN, pulse pressure, and antihypertensive treatment have been linked to alterations in left atrial diameter and dysfunction. Effective treatment of HTN has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and the overall risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Given the impact of obesity on the development of atrial fibrillation, diet has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for stroke. Maintenance of proper glycemic control through structured exercise training for prediabetes and continuous positive airway pressure utilization for OSA, have also been correlated with reductions in atrial fibrillation recurrence.

Summary

Early intervention of modifiable cardiometabolic factors leads to lifestyle and behavioral change, which has significant potential to evolve atrial fibrillation management in the coming years.

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