Diabetes, obesity and atrial fibrillation: Epidemiology, mechanisms and interventions
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Body mass index (BMI) is a powerful predictor of death, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. Over the last few decades, we have witnessed a global rise in adult obesity of epidemic proportions. Similarly, there has been a parallel increase in the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), itself a significant cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This may be partly attributable to advances in the treatment of coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart failure (HF) improving life expectancy, however, epidemiological studies have demonstrated an independent association between obesity, diabetes and AF, suggesting possible common pathophysiological mechanisms and risk factors. Indeed, cardiac remodeling, haemodynamic alterations, autonomic dysfunction, and diastolic dysfunction have been reported in obese and diabetic cohorts. Moreover, diabetic cardiomyopathy is characterized by an adverse structural and functional cardiac phenotype, which may predispose to the development of AF. In this review, we discuss the pathophysiological and mechanistic relationships between obesity, diabetes and AF, and some of the challenges posed in the management of this high-risk group of individuals.