Anything that interferes with the heart’s ability to do its job can cause a glitch in the heart’s normal rhythm.
While Atrial Fibrillation is usually short-lived, if it persists, it may increase the risk of other complications.
However, it can also become an ongoing problem, which will need to be managed with prescription medications.
For various reasons, your physician may take a “watch and see” approach to manage your condition without medications.
However, you can take the following along with this outline for controlling atrial fibrillation in 9 steps.
1. Control Alcohol Use:
- Alcohol is toxic to the heart. Excessive drinking can do serious damage.
A recent study published in the journal Circulation indicates that heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of Atrial Fibrillation in men.
➡ Researchers speculate that heavy alcohol intake may lead to Atrial Fibrillation by affecting the structure and size of the heart or by promoting irregular heart rhythms
2. Minimize Stress
- Even people who are generally healthy and have no known heart problems may develop atrial fibrillation due to high stress.
- Contemporary research suggests that about 54 percent of patients with intermittent atrial fibrillation cite psychological stress as the most common trigger. Source: American Heart Association
3. Avoid Stimulants
Even too much coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate can speed up your heart rate even more.
➡ Beware of over-the-counter medicines, including nutritional supplements and cold and allergy medicines.
➡ Drugs may contain stimulants or have other properties that can trigger arrhythmias and/or interact with your prescription medications.
➡ Recent research shows that just being overweight can put you at risk for Atrial Fibrillation.
➡ Excess pounds may contribute to it by causing an enlargement of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. This, in turn, may cause the atria to enlarge.
5. Obesity may trigger Atrial Fibrillation by increasing inflammation in the body.
➡ Extra weight places a stress on the heart that can manifest as atrial fibrillation.
➡ Obesity can actually change the size of the heart’s atria, with a gradual increase in atrial size occurring as body weight increases from normal, to overweight, to obese.
Weight loss can play an important role in improving control of Atrial Fibrillation for many patients.
6. Manage Your Cholesterol
➡ Heart problems like atherosclerosis (clogged, hardened arteries) and high cholesterol can worsen atrial fibrillation and put you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
➡ Stick to a low-fat, plant-based diet and exercise daily to keep your levels under control.
7. Chronic Conditions: Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects an estimated 12 to 18 million Americans.
➡ People with sleep apnea snore and repeatedly experience brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.
➡ These pauses in breathing can cause drastic changes in oxygen levels, putting an enormous strain on the heart, which can lead to an increase in heart rate.
Heart problems like atherosclerosis (clogged, hardened arteries) and high cholesterol can worsen atrial fibrillation and put you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
Atrial Fibrillation is about 5 times greater in people with apnea.
9. Stop Smoking
➡ Nicotine is a cardiac stimulant and can aggravate atrial fibrillation by temporarily making the heart race.
➡ Cigarette smoking is also a known risk factor for coronary artery disease.