One of my favorite sayings (after 35 years do engineering R&D) is "the most important words in science aren’t ‘Eureka! I’ve found it!’. The most important words are ‘that’s funny…’ ". Well known National Semiconductor scientist Bob Pease told the engineers and technicians working on new prototypes, that when something acted “funny”, they should “record the amount of funny”.
With that in mind, over the last few years my wife and I said “that’s funny”, that we seem to know a lot of people being diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and treated in all sorts of ways. It could be that it correlates with age, and obviously we’re all getting older, but we hear a lot more talk about it in general. There are commercials for Afib drugs on TV. Then Afib hit me.
When I turned 60 (coming up on four years ago), I had been living on Zone level carbs - or less (less than 40% in 40-30-30; but not keto levels), but, hey, it was my birthday and I had a chunk of “healthy” carrot cake. The next day, while in the bathroom at work, I had a “cardiac event”; a horrible sensation, like being punched hard in the chest. I took my pulse and it was 38 - ordinarily it’s in the low 60s. Then it went away. And came back. And went away.
Long story shortened, a week or so later, I wore a Holter monitor overnight and they said I had all sorts of irregularities. Afib, PVCs, PACs. That lasted a couple of weeks, and in the time since then, I’ve never had a repeat of that. I went keto within a year after that. Only once or twice in the four years since then have I had anything I thought was Afib. I’ve had several echocardiograms, and a couple of “nuclear stress tests” and my heart has been completely normal for every test.
Since it was so close to my chunk of birthday cake and one day of eating “normal” foods, I started wondering if Afib really is getting more common and is related to the obesity and type 2 diabetes “epidemics”.
I can’t say for sure, obviously, but WebMD and other sources list diabetes as a risk factor for Afib, and at least one study I found (abstract) says Afib is increasing and is expected to continue increasing. They don’t make the link to diet, but imply the reason is just because the population is aging. By simple time sequence, it has to correlate with the lowfat diet shift, but we all know correlation doesn’t mean causation.
So it’s probably early to think this, but I’m thinking that if anyone investigates it, they’re going to find that the increase in Afib is caused by the shifts in diet from the lowfat fad diet. There probably was some level of Afib at all time, just like there always was some amount of type 2 diabetes, but it’s getting more common and that increase is diet related. Just like Alzheimer’s is getting referred to as “type 3”, I think Afib is going is to be added to the list.
Offered just to get it off my chest and to see what you folks think.