FRIDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking increases the risk of
developing a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, a
new study warns.
U.S. researchers reviewed data from more than 15,000 people,
aged 45 to 64, who were followed for an average of 13 years, and
found that there were 876 atrial fibrillation events during that
The risk of the abnormal heart rhythm was 1.32 times higher in
former smokers and two times higher in current smokers, compared to
people who never smoked, according to the report in the August
issue of the journal
Atrial fibrillation "is a serious health issue that decreases
quality of life and significantly increases the risk of stroke,"
co-author Alanna M. Chamberlain, of the department of health
sciences research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a
journal news release.
About 160,000 new cases of atrial fibrillation are diagnosed
each year in the United States. Previous research has identified a
number of risk factors for atrial fibrillation, including obesity,
high blood pressure and diabetes.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about