Having ANY health condition can make you feel like you have no control. But there are a lot of ways you can live better with your Atrial Fibrillation. Here are some things to consider:
Use your Day Tracker – Keeping track of your health is a great way to see how your choices affect your daily routine. This allows you to see if any of your choices impact or possibly trigger your AFib.
Follow your Treatment Plan – Your care team wants to help you live longer, and help you control your risk factors for heart disease and stroke. They can help you manage it for life. Taking an active part in your treatment plan means you’re doing all you can to prevent any complications that could occur as a result of having AFib.
Eat Smart – Good choices for people with AFib include low-fat options that are rich in fiber. Avoid saturated fats and eat regular amounts leafy green vegetables for a good source of vitamin K, which helps your heart, bones, and your brain. Cut down on the salt, as it can increase your blood pressure and make AFib worse.
Get your Flu Shot Every Year – There is evidence that viral disease like the flu can affect the heart, causing conditions such as inflammation of the heart, which are especially dangerous for people with AFib.
Avoid stimulants found in some over-the-counter medications such as those for weight loss, decongestants or energy-boosting supplements. Many of these will contain phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, and ephedra and can interact poorly with your AFib medications or stimulate your heart. If you’re not sure, ask your specialist or pharmacist.
Watch your Cholesterol – This is important for everyone, including people with AFib, as you are up to seven times more likely to experience a stroke than someone without AFib.
Limit or Avoid Caffeine – Caffeine, and products containing caffeine (including some over-the-counter medications), act as a stimulant to your heart, and this can trigger your AFib. This includes coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, and even some over-the-counter medications.
Become More Active – Make sure you are cleared by your clinician before beginning any new exercise routine. Exercise can be very beneficial for many people with AFib as regular exercise can slow your resting heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Control Weight – Carrying more weight than you should causes the heart to work harder than it should. Work on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your body type.
Stop Smoking – AFib is associated with 5x greater risk for stroke. Smoking will greatly increase that risk. Talk to your clinician or Health Advisor for some ways to help you kick the habit.
Improve/Get Enough Sleep – Keep a regular sleep schedule and get good, quality sleep. This goes a long way.
Control Stress – Stress can play a contributing role in making AFib worse. It can increase the heart rate and blood pressure just like drinking caffeine. Repeated stress can also lead to other health problems both physically and mentally.
Connect with a Community – Get plugged in with other people diagnosed with the Atrial Fibrillation, a forum or a local support group. It’s good to know of others who are dealing with the same condition as you, and you can also learn from and support each other.
Ready to try one or more of these suggestions? If you’re not sure how to begin, call and talk to your Health Advisor. They can point you in the right direction and help you get a good start.
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