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Can AF cause weight loss?

I'm sure this is completely unscientific but it based on personal experience. I had a valve replacement a couple of years ago, also had fast AF for a few weeks before the op and slower AF for a few months afterwards. In that period, I lost nearly a stone in weight. This was just enough to get me at target BMI and I dropped a dress size (new clothes)! I had a healthy appetite throughout,the only difference being that I gave up alcohol for about 3 months. The only additional medication that I had was Bisoprolol, which actually makes some people put on weight. Now my AF has come back and the weight is dropping off again. I still eat the same amount and have a glass of wine about 4 times a week.

Mu cardiologist says that a faster than normal heart rate is like someone exercising all the time. So is the AF affecting my metabolism?

15 Replies

Can AF cause weight loss? If only--------. Not in my experience, unfortunately.


No weight loss for me with AF. It's more like I've put it on with all the sitting I have to do when my heart is racing for weeks on end.


Ok this is an interesting post. From my own experience I would have to say that it does affect wieght or at least I feel it did in my case. All my life I have easily put on wieght. For the 15 years that my A.F. was uncontrolled I easily lost 4 stone and kept it off without restricting myself at all. Now I am on flecanide and A.F. is at bay and in a 2 month period I put on7 pounds. I have had to work hard to lose this. So it's either the meds or the fact that my metabolism is no longer racing along. I favour the second theory. However I reckon it's a good trade off and don't mind watching what I eat in return for a quiet heart. Will be interested to know what other people think. X


I've had a fast'ish heart rate all my life and can lose weight easily and quickly, although not quite so easily nowadays @ 64. When I was younger, I would wake up pounds lighter in the morning, my record being a loss of 5lbs in a night. I always wondered where it all went, but must have been just burning up energy/fat and my ticker rate must have been a big element I would have thought?



Hi Koll -- your 5lbs overnight weight loss would be mostly fluid --- you would have to have a deficit of 3500 calories to lose just 1lb.


I went into AF last year and have lost over a stone in weight. My heart beats faster than it used to so I think it is significant.


If only! since my AF started I have put on 3 stone and finding it more and more difficult to shift the weight. I am hoping as I become more active again and when I can stop the drugs it will be easier. One thing I noticed - since my ablation last month I haven't had the munchies which I always had the day after an episode and the cravings were all for carbs. The lack of not wanting to snack was SO pronounced that I do think there is some connection with AF and metabolism but as we all have different experiences again it may be complicated. Love to talk to a metabolic specialists.

Wouldn't it be great if we could! There would be such cross fertilization through a medium such as this forum.


I think you will find that a fast heart rate associated with AF does not have the same effect on the metabolism as an increased heart rate from an aerobic activity , so losing weight this way is not really likely ... if only.....


1 like

Gosh what a mixed bag of replies.

My experience sadly is weight gain, wish it was the other way round



I wish! Since being diagnosed and put on flecainide, diltiazem and warfarin and not being able to exercise at all I have put on a stone despite eating less than before. I think it must be because my heart beat is much slower now 57-70 most days and h am so tired


Since being put on Diltiazem which has dropped my heart rate into the 50s I have put on weight, however as the diarrhoea which I was suffering from before has been replaced by constipation that may be the explanation?


~Oh I so wish it made me lose weight .... but no like most on here my weight is stuck like glue & with the increase in times of having to sit while heart is going like the clappers is not helpful. Having now been told that along with AF, IBS & osteoarthritis I now have gout!!!! The list of foods now is so comical ... bread is bad but not.... cheese is bad but not ... all depending on which ailment you look at ! The one thing I have found out is black cherry juice is brilliant for knocking gout out and does prevent its return . No doubt it's bad for something else too !

oh joy !




I've lost weight since developing AF but I've put it down to the nausea and loss of appetite resulting from some of the drugs I've been prescribed. Also, I'm afraid I'm one of those really annoying people that finds it much harder to gain weight than to loose it!


Af can make you anxious/unwell which tend to make you eat less.

It can also make you tired/lethargic which tends to make you do less.

Which ever path you follow will dictate your weight loss/gain, i don't believe the faster heart rate will trick your body into assuming you are doing exercise. If only it did, when I was in persistent AF before ablation I regularly had cardio sessions according to my fitbit without my knowledge :O)

If a firm believer in staying as active as possible and eating as healthily as possible to combat this condition. Everyone can make improvements to diet and excercise, just don't over do it.


having made a quick reply i notice this thread is three years old :)


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