Dr Hany Abed doing research at the University of Adelaide has shown that obesity directly causes electrical abnormalities in the heart.
Evidence shows that obesity can increase blood pressure, change the structure and size of the heart muscle, the way the heart works, contracts, and its electrical function.
Electrical dysfunction of the heart leads to atrial fibrillation which affects 10% of people over 75 years old.
Atrial fibrillation commonly leads to heart attacks and strokes.
As the population gets fatter, it is predicted that by 2020, over 67% of atrial fibrillation cases will be due to obesity. Overweight men are most at risk for developing atrial fibrillation.
He is studying how obesity affects the heart and if weight loss can reduce the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
Early results show weight loss can reverse atrial fibrillation.