Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm condition affecting millions of people every day. Medicines and treatments like catheter ablation are available for patients, but they don’t provide a full cure for the condition. Everyday stresses can cause problems for patients dealing with this heart arrhythmia. Managing stress levels can be a great way to improve episodes and overall quality of life. Understanding the link between stress and AFib can help you manage your health.

How Stress Relates to AFib

While stress does not directly cause atrial fibrillation, it can have an effect on a patient’s episodes. The most common risk factors for AFib are high blood pressure, diabetes, age, or a family history of AFib. Stress can have a great effect on a patient’s condition and lead to increased AFib episodes.

Patients may notice longer or more severe AFib episodes during times of stress. Studies have shown that a high percentage of people with AFib experience increased levels of stress. AFib is also linked to other effects on mental health, including depression.

How Stress May Trigger an AFib Episode

During times of stress, your body releases stress hormones that can increase your blood pressure and trigger an AFib episode. Stress can arise from many aspects of your daily life. The two main types of stress, physical and emotional, have varying effects on your body.

Physical stress includes sleep deprivation, sickness, injury, and dehydration. Emotional stress occurs when you experience negative emotions including sadness, anger, and fear.

It is very common for unhealthy habits to arise from stress. Habits such as poor diet and alcohol or caffeine consumption can increase your blood pressure and trigger an episode. In order to manage your episodes, it’s necessary to find healthy ways to manage your stress.

How to Calm an AFib Episode

While there is no cure for AFib, medical professionals focus on symptom relief and complication prevention. There are many at-home methods to consider to help calm AFib episodes.

Engaging in relaxing activities, such as light exercise or yoga, deep breathing and meditation can help your body deal with stress. Overall, make sure to get enough rest and take care of your body, eat healthily, and stay hydrated. If you start a new exercise regime that may be stressful on your body, consult with your doctor first.

If you are suffering from a heart rhythm disorder, consider visiting the cardiac electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants. Our care coordinators can give you more information about testing and treatment options, including cardiac ablation therapy. We value your health and well-being above all else. Speak with a care coordinator today.

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 and Venice, Florida.