THURSDAY, June 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Older age, cardiovascular comorbidities, and renal complications increase the risk for atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online June 6 in Diabetes Care.

Sara Hallström, from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, and colleagues used data from the Swedish National Diabetes Registry (2001 through 2013) to identify 36,258 individuals with type 1 diabetes. During a median of 9.7 years of follow-up, incident AF was tracked, as were potential risk factors for AF.

The researchers found that 749 individuals developed AF during follow-up. Increased AF risk was associated with older age, male sex, renal complications, increased body mass index (BMI), higher HbA1c, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and heart valve disease. The highest risk for AF was associated with age, signs of renal dysfunction with macroalbuminuria, and decreasing estimated glomerular filtration rate. Increased risk was also associated with high blood pressure, severe obesity (BMI >35 kg/m²), and elevated levels of HbA1c (>9.6 percent). However, no associations were seen for hyperlipidemia or smoking.

“Our results imply that risk factors for developing AF in patients with type 1 diabetes are similar to risk factors for other forms of cardiovascular diseases,” the authors write.

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