Tips For Living With AFib

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common forms of heart arrhythmia.  It is estimated that up to six million people living in the United States are affected by this condition.

When a person has AFib their heartbeat is irregular. The upper chambers of the heart are out of sync with the lower chambers.  Irregularities in the rhythm of the heart can increase their risk for complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Living with AFib poses challenges that can affect several aspects of a person’s health.  However, there are lifestyle changes that can be applied to help improve quality of life.  Here are a few:

  • Diet- A heart-healthy diet is important for overall good health and offers many benefits to those living with AFib. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended as these substances have been known to trigger AFib episodes.
  • Using medications as advised- There are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can have adverse effects. Some OTC cold medications and nasal sprays may contain substances that aggravate AFib. Certain multivitamins and herbal remedies, when combined with prescription medications, can also result in adverse reactions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to speak with a physician before taking any drugs or supplements.
  • Exercise- Adopting an exercise routine that fits your life can help strengthen your heart and improve stamina. As a person living with AFib, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about your exercise regimen because participating in activities that are too rigorous may lead to complications. Exercise also promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
  • Keep stress levels low- High levels of stress or intense bouts of anger can cause heart rates to quicken- this is not good for AFib. Find ways to keep stress to a minimum. Participating in activities such as taking walks or yoga can help to alleviate stress and decrease depression or anxiety.

The key to improving your health while living with AFib involves incorporating these tips as well as communicating with your doctor.   He or she will recommend a care plan for you to follow.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.