An irregular heartbeat may increase the risk of developing dementia, according to researchers. File image: Pexels

An irregular heartbeat may increase the risk of developing dementia, according to researchers.

They say those with atrial fibrillation may experience a faster decline in memory skills than those without the condition, say experts 

With atrial fibrillation, a form of arrhythmia, the heart’s normal rhythm is out of sync. As a result, blood may pool in the heart, possibly forming clots that may go to the brain, causing a stroke.

However, researchers say those with the condition who were given blood thinners – to keep their blood from clotting – saw the dementia risk reduced significantly.

According to researchers at the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University found that those who had atrial fibrillation had a faster rate of decline in thinking and memory skills than those without the condition and were 40 % more likely to develop dementia.

These new findings were published online by the journal Neurology.