According to a report posted online in the American Journal of Cardiology, a resistance to insulin does not show any major link to atrial fibrillation (AF). This means that insulin resistance doesn’t seem to be a part of the pathogenesis of this common type of arrhythmia.

“Diabetes and obesity predispose [a person] to atrial fibrillation and all three conditions are increasing in prevalence and a public health burden,” Dr. Emelia J. Benjamin told Reuters Health by email. “We hypothesized that insulin resistance, which is associated with both diabetes and obesity, might contribute to the increased risk of atrial fibrillation.”

Researchers conducted a study that had scientists like Dr. Benjamin of The Framingham Heart Study, Massachusetts, and his team of colleagues analyzing information of more than 3,000 participants from The Framingham Heart Study Offspring, fifth and seventh examination cycles, who were aged at about 59 years old. During the 10 year time period that was used for follow ups with the participants, 9.3 percent (279 participants) developed AF. Of those people, 64 of them experienced a resistance to insulin. After the researchers made adjustments for their findings to establish risk factors for developing AF (such as age, gender and weight), the data showed that the insulin resistance wasn’t clearly linked to the incidents of AF.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that an older, more ethnically diverse sample with a greater burden of cardiovascular risk factors might manifest an association between insulin resistance and incident AF,” the researchers cautioned.

However, Dr. Benjamin did summarize by stating, “Our study suggests that we will need to seek other explanations for the connection between diabetes, obesity, and atrial fibrillation.”

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