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Women with type-2 diabetes have are at a greater risk of developing a potentially fatal irregular heartbeat, according to new research.
A study published in the October issue of Diabetes Care revealed that female patients with the insulin deficiency had a 26 percent greater chance of developing atrial fibrillation, HealthDay News reports.
Although further research has not begun, the study's authors theorize that diabetes affects the cardiac autonomic nerves in a way similar to how the disease causes damage to peripheral nerves, causing the heavily studied condition peripheral neuropathy.
Gregory Nichols, an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and the study's lead author commented that in the study, "among women, diabetes was a stronger predictor of atrial fibrillation than obesity and elevated blood pressure", which are traditional indicators. He added that this research will likely raise awareness among doctors that female patients with diabetes should undergo lab testing for the heart irregularity.
The American Heart Association explains that atrial fibrillation, a condition diagnosed in about 2.2 million Americans, occurs when two of the heart's chambers don't beat effectively, causing clots. Doctors say that if a clot leaves the heart and becomes ledged in one of the brain's arteries, the patient may suffer a stroke.
Atrial fibrillation accounts for about 15 percent of all strokes.
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