They say you are strong when you know your weaknesses. If you are dealing with a long-term diagnosis like atrial fibrillation, knowledge is your greatest tool. The key to living and thriving with Afib is to find out more about your heart.
Dealing with atrial fibrillation can be overwhelming at first, but once you know what you need to, it becomes much simpler.
Read our previous article – 5 Things You Should Know about Atrial Fibrillation (ref. link), so you can learn how to recognise the signs of Afib early on, as well as how to manage symptoms after receiving a diagnosis.
Once Afib has been diagnosed, the manner in which it is managed (ref. link) is very clear. Your doctor will try to reset your heart rhythm and control the heart rate to prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes. This may be done with oral medications, like beta-blockers or anti-arrhythmic drugs, along with blood thinners. Doctors may also try to reset the heart back to its normal rhythm with cardioversion, which is done by sending electric shocks to the heart tissue using small paddles or electrodes on the chest.
In certain severe cases, cardiologists may recommend surgical procedures like cardiac ablation, which uses heat from radiofrequency energy, or cryoablation which uses extreme cold to create scars in the heart tissue. This blocks the abnormal electrical impulses and restores a regular heartbeat, sometimes with the help of a pacemaker.
While a diagnosis of heart arrhythmias can shake things up, with the right plan in place, you can live a life BIGGER than Afib!
First off, Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart. Below we list some treatments that can help you handle atrial fibrillation and atrial fibrillation symptoms.
Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke (ref. link) by 5 times, and AFib-related strokes are 2.5 times more likely to be fatal. Medicines like oral anticoagulants (blood thinners) can reduce the risk of stroke by 64% and the risk of death by 26% in those with Afib. These medicines do have side effects such as an increased tendency to bleed when hurt.
2. Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart!
One study revealed (ref. link) that diets rich in saturated fat were associated with a greater risk of persistent or chronic atrial fibrillation. It is advisable to increase your intake of monosaturated fats like nuts, avocados, or olive oil while eating a well-rounded wholesome diet.
3. More Smiles, Less Stress!
Studies have shown (ref. link) that anxiety and stress may trigger atrial fibrillation. Strong emotions can cause your heart to race and skip a beat, triggering AFib episodes. Finding coping mechanisms like breathing exercises or meditation to calm your nerves may help in the long run.
4. Say No to Cigarettes and Cocktails
Alcohol can also trigger Afib. Some people experience symptoms from just a drink or two, while others don’t feel adverse effects in a cardiac sense unless heavy drinking is involved. This is believed to be due to a possible link between alcohol consumption and the level of activity of the Vagus nerve, which in turn affects the heart. According to the American Heart Association (ref. link), light to moderate alcohol intake within limits should not trigger Afib. They suggest up to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men, without binge drinking.
With regard to smoking, research from the European Society of Cardiology (ref. link) determined that every 10 “pack-years” of smoking saw a 16% increased risk of Afib.
5. Fit does not Quit. Find a Workout that Suits YOU!
It’s natural for people with arrhythmias to hesitate when it comes to exercise. A common question they ask is, “Can I exercise with a heart condition?”
Afib can make exercise difficult because it does cause your heart rate to rise and your Blood Pressure to drop. You may experience heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating and breathlessness. In severe cases, it may also cause arm pain, confusion, and disorientation. If you feel unwell or uneasy while exercising with atrial fibrillation, ask your doctor to confirm if you can participate in regular workout sessions at a moderate level.
While initially recovering from Afib you may be told to consider cardiac rehabilitation. You would exercise under supervision at a health facility where your heart is evaluated using an exercise heart rate monitor. In addition, they will look out for abnormalities using ECG monitoring devices. The specialists there can recommend new exercises to safely try using the information gained through this process.
A continuous ECG monitor that tracks your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity patterns can be very useful in understanding whether you are pushing your heart too hard. Therefore, using an ECG fitness tracker can help you maintain a healthy heart by showing you which situations and activities help your heart, and which ones hurt it. You can now buy the best ECG fitness tracker on Amazon from Fourth Frontier and get started right away.
*The information in this blog is provided on an as-is basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, or usefulness. The content in this blog is not meant to substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is intended for informational purposes only. This blog contains copyright material that has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.
AFib signs may be similar to other heart-related issues. Some people experience rapid heartbeat or skipped heartbeats, while others may experience dizziness, weakness, and breathlessness. Each of these are the common warning signs of AFib. It is important to spot these signs and discuss them with your doctor if you do.
Atrial fibrillation isn’t generally life-threatening or considered to be serious for otherwise healthy people. Nevertheless, atrial fibrillation can be risky if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other diseases related to the heart. In either scenario the condition should be properly diagnosed and addressed by a doctor.
During AFib, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart (the two atria) is periodic, and blood doesn’t flow as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart (the two ventricles).
Though AFib is a long-term condition, if managed correctly, you can live a long and active life. Additionally, you can take several measures to reduce your risk of stroke.
Some studies indicate that stress and mental health problems may drive atrial fibrillation symptoms to worsen. High levels of stress may also cause other health conditions.
Other Heart Health Topics To Explore:
Cardiovascular Disease | Heart rate during exercise | Best ECG monitors | Low Heart Rate | Heart Rate Monitor | Mental Stress | Heart Attack Symptoms | Heart Palpitations Causes | Increased Heart rate | Heart Health