Question

Atrial Fibrillation

Do lifestyle habits increase the chance of atrial fibrillation?

A Answers (1)

  • ADouglas Severance, MD, Family Medicine, answered
    As with most chronic health conditions, negative lifestyle habits can contribute to health problems. Some lifestyle habits can trigger or increase your risk of atrial fibrillation. To help prevent atrial fibrillation, here are some things to incorporate into your lifestyle:

    -Avoid cold and cough medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, which can trigger high blood pressure and arrhythmias.
    -Avoid caffeine and smoking. These stimulants can trigger atrial fibrillation.
    -Seek treatment for high blood pressure and stay on your medications.
    -Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Obesity is a risk factor for arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation.
    -Eat foods on the DASH diet. The DASH diet is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. Foods on the DASH diet are high in necessary electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium and they are low in sodium. Eating the right balance of these electrolytes is important to keep the heart's electrical impulses working properly. For instance, getting too much sodium can cause a problem with the electrical impulses that can lead to arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation. Getting plenty of calcium, potassium, and magnesium through fruits and vegetables is good for your heart's health.
    -Avoid alcohol. Binge drinking (having five drinks in two hours for men, or four drinks for women) also affects the heart's electrical impulses and can lead to atrial fibrillation. Chronic alcohol abuse can cause the heart to beat inefficiently.
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