LOS ANGELES (Dispatches) -- Feeling excessively tired, devoid of energy, demoralized, and irritable? You may have burnout, a syndrome associated with a potentially deadly heart rhythm disturbance.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of heart arrhythmia. It is estimated that 17 million people in Europe and 10 million people in the U.S. will have this condition by next year, increasing their risk for heart attack, stroke, and death. Yet, what causes atrial fibrillation is not fully understood.
Psychological distress has been suggested as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but previous studies showed mixed results. In addition, until now, the specific association between vital exhaustion and atrial fibrillation had not been evaluated.
The researchers lead by Dr. Parveen K. Garg of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles surveyed more than 11,000 individuals for the presence of vital exhaustion, anger, antidepressant use, and poor social support. They then followed them over a period of nearly 25 years for the development of atrial fibrillation.
Participants with the highest levels of vital exhaustion were at a 20% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation over the course of follow-up compared to those with little to no evidence of vital exhaustion.