We all heard the popular advice on how to keep the heart healthy: don’t smoke, eat healthy, exercise, etc. While it’s important for everyone to take measures to keep the heart healthy, it’s especially important for those who have heart arrythmia. Heart arrythmia is an irregular heartbeat. It occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate the heartbeats don’t work properly. The faulty signaling causes the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly. While some cases of arrhythmia are relatively harmless, others are quite dangerous and may be signs of a more serious problem.
Here are some dos and don’ts if you have heart arrhythmia.
1. Do Exercise Regularly
Generally, exercise is good for the heart. However, if you have an irregular heartbeat, you need to practice caution. Certain types of exercise put too much stress on the heart and increase your adrenaline, which may worsen the arrhythmia. Choose cardio over weightlifting. Try jogging or yoga. Many patients find that yoga can actually help prevent more arrhythmias.
2. Do Lose Weight
One of the most important things you can do for your heart is lose extra weight. Being obese or overweight contributes to arrhythmia. Eat healthy, avoid sugar, food additives, foods that are high in cholesterol, and processed foods. However, don’t resort to diet pills or “lose weight quick” methods. Those can increase your heartbeat and be quite dangerous for those with arrhythmia.
3. Do Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a direct trigger of arrhythmias. The stresses and chemical changes that happen in the body because of sleep apnea-related oxygen deprivation are dangerous. Sleep apnea puts stress on your heart and weakens the heart muscle, leading to arrhythmias like A-Fib. If you have sleep apnea, seek treatment right away.
4. Do Limit Caffeine Intake
While different people have different levels of sensitivity to caffeine, you should practice caution and try to limit your intake of caffeinated products (such as tea, coffee, sodas, and some over-the-counter medications).
Smoking is generally harmful for the heart. It triggers cardiac fibrosis, or the scarring of heart muscle. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat or a fast heartbeat, also known as tachycardia. Nicotine also increases heart rate, which can lead to tachycardia. Smoking can also lead to high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and much more.
Limiting or avoiding alcohol is especially important if you have a condition called A-fib. Recent studies have shown that both binge drinking and moderate drinking can raise your risk for atrial fibrillation. If you have a weakened heart or a previous heart attack, it’s also best to avoid drinking altogether. In other cases, stick to red wine and limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 glasses per day.
Don’t Take Stimulants
Beware of stimulants in medications and herbal or nutritional supplements. Some of these medications contain ingredients, such as amphetamines, caffeine, synthetic cathinone, and others that promote irregular heart rhythm. Read the label and ask your doctor or pharmacist what medication would be best for you.
Don’t Skimp on Sleep
Sleep is very important to keep us functioning our best. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The right amount of sleep lowers your stress hormones and helps you avoid fatigue. Stress and fatigue both have a tendency of triggering arrhythmia.
For more information, please contact the Medical Specialists of Ft. Lauderdale. Our cardiology division is top rated with leading-edge treatment and highly skilled specialists. Our multi-specialty clinic is conveniently located at 8395 West Oakland Park Blvd STE D, Sunrise, FL 33351. Call today to make an appointment: (954) 747-6220.