Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat that may lead to various complications when left unmanaged. Numbers show about 12.1 million people in the US will have AFib in 2030. In many cases, AFib is a preventable condition. How to prevent AFib, then? Scroll down to see some useful tips that will help you do so.
1. Quit smoking
Cessation of smoking is one of the most important lifestyle measures to adopt for AFib prevention. Studies confirm smoking is associated with a higher risk of developing AFib in a dose-dependent manner.
In other words, the more you smoke, the higher the risk of having this heart problem.
The good thing is that quitting smoking lowers the risk of AFib significantly. While the underlying mechanisms through which smoking leads to AFib require further research, this unhealthy habit increases the risk of other diseases that cause irregular heartbeat. These health conditions may include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and others.
Therefore, in order to prevent AFib, you should definitely do your best to quit smoking. Quitting this unhealthy habit may seem difficult and impossible even. With proper support and strong willpower, you can achieve it.
2. Be more physically active
A sedentary lifestyle is harmful to our health and wellbeing, but unfortunately, most of us don’t move as much as we should. Cardiologists and other healthcare professionals encourage their patients to be more active in order to protect their heart and overall health, but it can also decrease the risk of AFib. You see, physical inactivity contributes to AFib, and it’s also an independent predictor of this condition.
After all, a sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain and other problems that may put your heart and its function in jeopardy. For that reason, AFib prevention should also include increased levels of physical activity.
Strive to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
Besides regular workouts, you should also increase your activity levels throughout the day. Strive to walk more instead of sitting too much.
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Everything you eat can either improve the function of your heart or harm it. In order to prevent AFib, you need to reevaluate your diet. It may be useful to have a food journal. Most of us tend to have a wrong perception regarding our eating habits and often fail to notice some problematic behaviours.
Additionally, instead of junk food and sugar-laden products, you may want to consume heart-healthy foods.
For instance, the Mediterranean diet is a great option for persons who want to improve heart health, prevent AFib, and manage some heart conditions. This type of diet is more like a lifestyle adjustment, and it delivers a plethora of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even healthy fats necessary for a good heart.
Prevention of AFib also calls for avoiding alcohol, reducing caffeine intake, avoidance of trans fats, decreasing sodium intake, and limiting sugar consumption. Your AFib prevention diet should also include Omega-3 fatty acids and high-fiber foods.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
One of the strongest factors associated with AFib is excessive weight. You see, being overweight or obese can induce changes to the electrical signalling within the atria and structural changes in the upper chambers of your heart.
Overeating, associated with excess weight, can promote inflammation through changes in hormone and cell-signalling pathways in the atria.
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for the prevention of AFib. If you’re overweight or obese, you may want to modify your lifestyle to slim down. Remember, successful weight loss and its maintenance occur with wise choices. You need a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity. You also need motivation and a healthy mindset.
5. Manage your blood pressure
Blood pressure is a strong indicator of heart health. Many people have hypertension (high blood pressure) which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and events such as heart attack and stroke. Managing your blood pressure and keeping it in a healthy range is vital for the prevention of AFib.
To make that happen, you need to go to checkups at your doctor’s office regularly.
It’s also useful to monitor your blood pressure at home.
You may want to reduce sodium intake and adhere to the doctor’s recommendations if you’ve already had problems with blood pressure.
With proper management of hypertension or preventing this problem in the first place, you would be able to decrease the risk of developing AFib too.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common heart-related problems in the US and across the world. Many cases of AFib are preventable, particularly those that are associated with modifiable factors such as excess weight and an unhealthy lifestyle. This post focused on five crucial tips to prevent AFib. As you can see, the prevention of atrial fibrillation revolves around modifying your lifestyle, and there are no quick fixes here. Only by making significant changes, you will be able to reduce the risk of developing AFib. Fortunately, with support from your loved ones, you’ll achieve it.
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