Atrial Fibrillation A Predictor for Alzheimer’s Disease

Patients under the age of 70 with atrial fibrillation are 130 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without the heart disease, according to a recent study. "Previous studies have shown that patients with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk for some types of dementia, including vascular dementia. But to our knowledge, this is the first large-population study to clearly show that having atrial fibrillation puts patients at greater risk for developing Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. T. Jared Bunch, the study’s lead researcher. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem, affecting about 2.2 million Americans. It occurs when the heart beats chaotically, leading blood to pool and possibly clot. If the clot leaves the heart, a stroke can result. "Now that we've established this link, our focus will be to see if early treatment of atrial fibrillation can prevent dementia or the development of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. John Day, a co-author of the study. The work was presented on May 15 during the annual scientific sessions of the Heart Rhythm Society. [Press release]
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