Men beware! Overweight males develop a type of irregular heartbeat, known as Atrial fibrillation, about a decade earlier than women, reveals a recent study.
The results indicated that diagnosis rates jumped when men were 50 or older and women were 60 or older.
The new atrial fibrillation cases increased more in men than women with increased body mass index (BMI): 31 percent in men and 18 percent in women.
In Atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart, or atria, quiver instead of beat to move blood effectively. Untreated atrial fibrillation increases the risk of heart-related death and is linked to a five times increased risk of stroke.
In the new research, having the condition more than tripled a person's risk of dying.
"It's crucial to better understand modifiable risk factors of atrial fibrillation," said study author Christina Magnussen from the University Heart Center in Hamburg, Germany.
"If prevention strategies succeed in targeting these risk factors, we expect a noticeable decline in new-onset atrial fibrillation," Magnussen added.
This would lead to less illness, fewer deaths and lower health-related costs, she suggested.
The team reviewed records of 79,793 people (aged 24 to 97) in four community-based studies in Europe.
The participants did not have atrial fibrillation at the outset. Later assessments of their health -- with a median follow-up period of 12.6 to a maximum of 28.2 years -- showed that 4.4 percent of the women and 6.4 percent of the men had been diagnosed with the condition.
"We advise weight reduction for both men and women," Magnussen noted.
As elevated body mass index seems to be more detrimental for men, weight control seems to be essential, particularly in overweight and obese men, the authors stated.
The research appears in journal Circulation.