Heart health during the summer months can be tricky business. Heat can have a major effect on your heart health and AFib in the summer.
Living with AFib doesn’t mean that you have to do without summer fun or avoid the outdoors all summer long. It does mean that you should take some precautions to maintain your summer heart health. Here are some of the best ways to manage your AFib during summer.
How Heat Affects the Heart
Heat and humidity are two big challenges for AFib patients during the summer. These factors make it more difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout your body and keep you cool. In high temperatures, your heart works harder because of the heat stress, which can potentially trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation. Extreme heat can also raise your risk for serious complications from an AFib episode, such as stroke and heart failure.
Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart health during the summer months. That’s because proper hydration helps your heart pump blood to the muscles throughout your body. The loss of fluid and blood salts that are associated with becoming dehydrated in the sun can trigger an AFib episode. To make sure you are hydrated, carry a bottle of water with you indoors and outdoors.
Minimize Your Heat Exposure
To minimize heat exposure, the first thing to do is to make sure that you check the heat index regularly. This is a measurement of what the temperature outside feels like with humidity added in. Keep an eye on this, and when the heat index reaches potentially dangerous levels, avoid going outside.
You should also avoid exercising during extreme heat. In hot weather, exercising in the heat leads to dehydration, and the stress from overheating can trigger an AFib episode.
On a daily basis, try to stay indoors in an air-conditioned space during the hottest hours of the day.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine to Avoid Dehydration
Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body, which puts you at risk for an AFib attack. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it directly causes dehydration.
It also impacts your body’s ability to regulate temperature. In hot weather, if your body is struggling to cool itself properly, this can easily lead to heat stress. High levels of stress can drastically increase your risks for AFib episodes or other issues.
This summer, keep your heart healthy by following these tips for dealing with hot weather while living with AFib. If you have questions about your heart health, schedule an appointment with the experts at Heart Rhythm Consultants.
About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.
The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats.
Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota, Venice, and Port Charlotte, Florida.