When it comes to managing Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), meds are the go-to choice. They control the heart rhythm, stimulate a healthy heart rate, and reduce the possibility of serious complications. But, there is a limit to what meds can do, and the rest of it is in your hands. That’s where lifestyle changes and healthy habits can come in handy.
If you have no clue where to start, you’ve come to the right place. We prepared a hefty guideline that can help you change your life for good. All you have to do is incorporate beneficial habits for AFib control. Here is how you can make that possible.
7 Lifestyle Changes for AFib You Need to Make
With healthy habits, you can prevent AFib episodes, avoid heart failure, and live a comfortable life. Here are seven healthy habits for AFib you should add to your daily schedule.
1. Cook Highly Nutritious and Well-Balanced Meals
If you are not watching your nutrient and mineral intake, you should start doing it now. With a well-balanced diet, you get to prevent:
- Blood sugar spikes
- Elevated blood pressure
But, most importantly, you avoid making your AFib worse. Experts believe that a good diet is the key to making your heart stronger and avoiding disease. However, for patients with this condition, it is a lot more important than you think.
Diets high in fat and sodium pose a real threat to cardiovascular health.
They can hinder heart function, interfere with blood transportation, and weaken the entire system.
To stay healthy, you should add plenty of fruits and veggies to your diet. Also, try to reduce the intake of fats and salt. Anything that is high in fiber and low in cholesterol will work like a charm.
2. Watch Your Vitamin K Intake
One of the key habits for AFib control is getting enough vitamin K, but not too much.
It has a vital role to play in the body’s natural clotting mechanism.
If you are at risk of developing blood clots, it’s essential to watch out for how much vitamin K is in your system.
For patients who take warfarin and consume too much vitamin K, they can throw their clotting levels off balance. This exposes them to possible heart complications and even stroke.
Regardless of the type of AFib meds you take, it’s crucial to consult with your doctor about the importance of this vitamin. They can advise you on how much or how little vitamin K you really need.
If your body lacks the vitamin, opt for nutritious meals like fish, broccoli, and leafy veggies. They are packed with this nutrient and can definitely come in handy. But, if you have to cut back on vitamin K, choose fruits instead. They will drop the levels and control the clotting.
3. Pick the Right Exercise
Make your heart stronger and improve your flow of oxygen by focusing on low-impact to moderate exercises. You can do:
- Light lifting
Start with 5 to 10 min exercises and slowly increase the duration as your body gets accustomed to the physical activity.
4. Drop Smoking
Cigarettes act as a stimulant for raising heart rate and triggering an AFib episode. They also increase the risk of CAD (coronary artery disease), which can be a serious issue for patients with this condition. To keep your health in check, it’s best to stop this addictive habit as soon as possible. That way, the heart can get stronger and rejuvenate over time.
5. Avoid too Much Caffeine
Coffee and caffeinated products can be a good option when you want to feel more alert. But, for patients with AFib that is not a healthy habit at all. Caffeine is another stimulant that accelerates the heart rate.
People who are sensitive to these fluctuations will immediately notice the difference. Their heart rhythm will be thrown out of sync and result in an episode. To prevent it from happening, take caffeine in moderation. A cup of coffee will do.
6. Stay Away from Emotional Pressure and Stress
Stress is a major trigger for AFib. If you think you are at risk of experiencing an episode, it’s crucial to implement relaxing and deep breathing techniques. Try to stay as calm as possible to keep the heart rate fluctuations under control. Meditation can help.
7. Watch the Alcohol
Alcohol is toxic to the cardiovascular system. Binge drinking can set off an AFib attack and worsen the condition. If you are taking blood thinners, it can be an even bigger issue. The alcohol can interact with the medication and make patients bleed more. To avoid this problem, try to avoid drinking completely or get 1 to 2 drinks a day.
While AFib may not be the easiest condition to deal with, there are still many ways you can keep it under control. The healthy habits we listed here can show you the ropes. Great helpers to manage them are portable health devices like electrocardiogram (ECG) and connected apps. These solutions let you perform simple, fast, and effective heart measurements to detect signs of existing or potential AFib risks that you reduce with healthy habits.
Have you tried any of these habits? Share your thoughts in the comments.