Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Atrial Fibrillation Health Center

Font Size

Atrial Fibrillation Raises Death Risk for Middle-Aged Women

Study Shows Increased Risk of Death for Women Who Are Newly Diagnosed With Atrial Fibrillation

Tracking Risks of Atrial Fibrillation

Conen and colleagues evaluated nearly 35,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Study from 1993 to 2010. All were over age 45 when they enrolled in the study. The median age was 53 (half were younger, half older).

During a median follow-up of 15.4 years, 1,011 women developed the abnormal rhythm. There were 1,602 deaths from all causes, including 63 deaths in women with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation.

After taking age into account, the risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular causes, was significantly higher among the women who developed atrial fibrillation than those who did not.

One take-home point of the study, Conen tells WebMD, is for women newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation to pay attention to co-existing risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Trying to prevent the abnormal heart rhythm from developing in the first place is important too, says Conan, who reports receiving research grants from Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, and Sanofi-Aventis

Besides controlling weight and blood pressure, it is important not to smoke, to keep cholesterol at healthy levels, and to control diabetes if it occurs, says Tsang, who is also director of cardiovascular research at Vancouver General Hospital.

Until this study "we actually knew very little about this condition in middle-aged women," she says. "Newly identified [atrial fibrillation] in seemingly healthy women should be taken seriously and treated aggressively."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

pacemaker next to xray
Ablation, cardioversion, pacemaker, and more.
human brain
What you need to know.
woman doing yoga
Tips for easing stress.
fish and vegetables
How to eat to protect your heart.
Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
At Risk for Heart Disease
Recognizing Womens Heart Symptoms
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol

Resolved To Quit Smoking
Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow
Heart Disease And Ed
Atrial fibrillation

WebMD Special Sections