Hurricane season may be almost over, but this is the time of year when most storms hit. Most people prepare their homes and families when a storm hits, they don’t always take steps to protect their hearts.

Storm season can mean a loss of food, water, and medical care, but it also brings unhealthy stress that can lead to further complications for those with existing heart problems such as AFib. Prepare for any additional storms this year by taking these precautions.

Control stress

A study from the American Heart Association found that after Hurricane Sandy, the hardest-hit counties in New Jersey experienced a 22% increase in fatal heart attacks! Intense amounts of stress increase your blood pressure and your heart rate which leads to more forceful contractions of the heart.

During anxiety-provoking events, try these tips to lower your stress level. Practice deep breathing from your diaphragm, relax your muscles and even partake in light exercise. Stock up on medications before the storm hits and be sure to have plenty of water. The best way to avoid stress during hurricane season? Pay attention to evacuation announcements and take all necessary precautions.

Although a major storm can be stressful, with the right preparations, knowledge and stress-management tools, you can ensure your heart outlasts any emergency. If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is Board Certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.