New research shows a possible link between having asthma and a person’s risk for developing the common heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation.

Results of the study indicate people with persistent asthma could be at a 1.5 times greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AFib) later in life compared to individuals without asthma.

“Being aware there is this association means we need to help patients focus on these primary prevention things we know we should be doing but that are often the hardest things to do,” said Matthew Tattersall, DO, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “But they can help with asthma and they can also reduce risk for atrial fibrillation.”