Stress can affect us in many ways, and its ramifications are felt in just about every system in the body. One of the most notable ways our body is affected by stress is in the heart, especially when it comes to arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation.

Stress is inextricably linked to heart health

Managing stress effectively is important for everyone’s heart health, but especially so for people living with AFib. This is because when you’re under a lot of pressure or worn out, it could trigger an AFib episode or make your symptoms worse. We all have to deal with stress in our lives but finding consistent ways to reduce stress when possible can have a big impact on your heart health. 

AFib symptoms can worsen due to stress

Research has shown that high levels of stress can increase the severity of AFib symptoms, or cause latent symptoms to manifest. Since managing your symptoms is a vital part of ensuring your long-term health with AFib, reducing stress levels should be one of your top priorities.

Mental health concerns as a whole are an important consideration for AFib patients because conditions such as depression and anxiety are also linked to higher levels of stress. Just like controlling your diet, exercise and blood pressure are important for your heart health when you have AFib, receiving proper treatment for any mental health issues is crucial.

How you can reduce your stress to protect your heart

While eliminating stress from our lives entirely is not feasible, there are several simple steps to help you reduce and manage your stress level on your journey to better your heart health. Thankfully, several of these strategies are similar to overall solutions for living healthier with AFib, including:

  • Consuming a healthy diet – Consuming the same types of heart-friendly foods recommended for AFib patients can also help you control your stress. Diet and mental health are closely connected, so make sure you are eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, and limiting your intake of animal fats, processed foods and sugar.
  • Getting regular exercise – Exercise releases endorphins, which have been shown to lower stress levels and elevate your mood. Since exercise also helps your heart work more efficiently, maintaining a proper activity regimen is a win-win.
  • Using relaxation techniques – Whether you like to meditate, practice yoga, pray, or simply relax quietly with a book, freeing your mind form your troubles can be an effective way to take your attention off the stressors of life for a while.
  • Receiving support from family and friends – Emotional support from your loved ones generally leads to less stress, so make sure you are reaching out to your friends and family to let them know you need their help to stay as healthy as possible.

Managing your AFib in all conditions

Stress will always be a part of life, but by seeking out the best AFib care available you can help reduce its impacts. Contact Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. today to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated cardiac electrophysiologists who can guide you through living a fuller life with AFib.