A new study shows that palpitations represent the first symptom related to future heart rhythm problems and diseases. According to HealthDay News, people who frequently suffer from irregular heartbeats could later on develop atrial fibrillation.
23,000 people aged 25 to 96 from Norway were asked to subject themselves to medical observance in order for scientists to determine whether there is a connection between palpitations and a common heart affection known as atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure was commonly associated with heart problems, but doctors had reasons to believe that there were more factors involved. After 11 years of close surveillance, scientists noticed that atrial fibrillation occurred in 3 percent of women and 4.2 percent of men.
The research has clearly proven that the presence of frequent palpitations shows an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation in women by 62 percent and in men by 91 percent. Things could be even worse for people who also suffer from high blood pressure. Data has shown that a 140/90 mmHg blood pressure doubles the risk of atrial fibrillation in women and increases it by 40 percent in men.
In addition to pinpointing the link between heart affections and palpitations, the researchers have also identified some of the factors that could lead to atrial fibrillation. According to them, people who smoke and drink are more prone to suffer from irregular heartbeats. There are other factors that have been related to this disease, such as, age, blood pressure, diabetes and body mass index which was established taking into accounts the height and the weight of the patient.
According to researchers, patients and doctors should not neglect atrial fibrillation because it is the main cause of heart attack, stroke and death. However, they consider that further studies should be performed in the future because the results of their research did not reveal a true connection between palpitations and problematic heart rhythm. Doctors need to gather much more evidence before they could draw a causal relationship between the two.