The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Health -

I AM a 59-year-old woman with atrial fib­ril­la­tion and would ben­e­fit greatly from los­ing a few stone. I had some suc­cess with 5:2, but within a cou­ple of weeks my con­di­tion was much worse. Should I per­se­vere and put up with the symp­toms?

I AM of­ten asked by read­ers with long-term health con­di­tions if the New 5:2 is right for them. To an­swer this med­i­cal ques­tion, I asked my wife Clare – You mag­a­zine’s GP colum­nist – to com­ment.

She said: ‘The New 5:2 is an ex­cel­lent way to lose weight but it may not be suitable for those with atrial fib­ril­la­tion, which causes an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat, putting you at risk of a stroke due to a blood clot.

‘Most pa­tients with AF take war­farin tablets, which thin the blood. The prob­lem with war­farin and the 5:2 or any in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing plan is that the sud­den re­duc­tion in food on the fast days may af­fect the de­gree of blood-thin­ning.

‘On some days the blood may be too thick, risk­ing a blood clot, or else too thin, risk­ing a stroke. How­ever, this is not such an is­sue for most other blood­thin­ning med­i­ca­tion such as the newer an­ti­co­ag­u­lants, which do the same thing as war­farin but in a dif­fer­ent way. This is just one of the rea­sons why those peo­ple with a sig­nif­i­cant med­i­cal con­di­tion should seek ad­vice be­fore em­bark­ing on such a diet.

‘Los­ing weight, if you need to, un­doubt­edly ben­e­fits heart health. Even if you can’t do the 5:2, your doc­tor may be able to ad­vise on an­other healthy bal­anced diet that will help you slim.’

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