Your heart rate isn’t something you normally focus until you start to hear it beating loudly and erratically. When you start to hear your heart beat and feel like it might fall out of your chest you might end up in the ER. This symptom may also be coupled with chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion, weakness and fatigue. This is the experience of many who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a type of cardiac arrhythmia. In 2010, it was reported that 33.5 million people had atrial fibrillation. Sometimes atrial fibrillation cannot be prevented, but many times it can. When people follow a healthy diet, stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking they can prevent themselves from being diagnosed atrial fibrillation.
Ways to Prevent Atrial Fibrillation
- Follow a Healthy Diet
- Stay Active
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Avoid Smoking
Follow a Healthy Diet
Many times, it is hard for people to maintain a healthy diet. In an analysis of studies done by the University of Maryland they reported that there is evidence to believe that making good food choices reduces risk of heart disease and arrhythmias. There are many definitions as to what a healthy diet consists of, but when talking about prevention of atrial fibrillation there are some general guidelines. It has been said that cutting back on salt, watching food portions, cutting back on cholesterol and fat are some ways a heart healthy diet is defined.
- Cut Back on Salt
- Watch Food Portions
- Cut Back on Cholesterol and Cholesterol
There are many ways to stay active, but the decision on what to do should be based on what you are physically able to do. If possible it is recommended that a person engage in aerobic otherwise known as cardiovascular exercise (a workout that increases heart rate) every day if possible. Examples of cardiovascular exercise might include high impact activities such as running, low impact such as hiking or walking, no impact exercise such as swimming, or sports such basketball are all examples of cardiovascular exercise that one might engage in. Non-aerobic exercise such as pilates or yoga is also recommended. Other activities such as gardening, and cleaning are also examples of ways one can stay active.
- Engage in Aerobic Activity Every Day if Possible
- Non-Aerobic Exercise is also Recommended
- Other Activities Count
Maintain a Healthy Weight
More Americans are obese than ever before. Obesity has become epidemic and comes with increased risk for many medical issues which include heart disease. There some tools one can learn in order to maintain a healthy weight which are: limit use of electronic devices, keep track of your weight, BMI and waist size. It is also important to have accountability when a person is trying to maintain or lose weight. Having someone who can hold you accountable as you work to maintain or lose weight is vital and will help ensure that you maintain or lose weight successfully. When people do not have accountability, they are less likely to keep the weight off when things get hard. Life is stressful and people often overeat when stressed out so having someone else to help out when things get hard can be helpful.
- Limit Use of Electronics
- Keep Track of Weight, BMI, and Waist Size
- Have Accountability
When a person smokes, they increase their risk for stroke, cataracts, and lung cancer. It also increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack. With that said, it is critical that a person stop smoking in order to prevent an eventual diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. There are several ways to stop smoking. The use of smoking cessation products that can help with this. Products that contain Nicotine are: Nicorette, or Nico Derm CQ (the patch) are two products that can be used to help a person stop smoking. Products not containing nicotine include: prescription medications like Chantix and Zyban are also options.
- Know the Risks and Complications
- Use Smoking Cessation Products- Containing Nicotine
- OR Use Smoking Cessation Product- Not Containing Nicotine
All of these are ways to prevent atrial fibrillation. When we follow a heart healthy diet, stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking we greatly reduce the likely hood of ever being diagnosed with the serious cardiovascular arrhythmia that has plagued and claimed the lives of many.