If you have AFib, taking your medication according to your doctor’s instructions is crucial to your good health. But that’s just the beginning of what you should do to help prevent or treat your atrial fibrillation. Making behavioral lifestyle changes can help to treat or even prevent AFib attacks.

Avoid Heart Stimulants

Substances that affect the heart rate are natural culprits for problems with atrial fibrillation. Keeping these substances out of your system as much as possible is a great first step toward natural treatment. Try staying away from:

  • Caffeine, which is found in coffee, but also in energy drinks and sodas. While study results are mixed, caffeine is the most common substance connected to heart rate. Most people feel safer limiting or eliminating it from their diet.
  • Over-the-counter weight loss products. These pills contain herbs and other ingredients that act as a stimulant to the heart. They can cause unpredictable reactions, including AFib attacks to those who are sensitive to them.
  • Alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms in even the smallest amounts. Studies agree that, in general, the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of AFib. Alcohol also dehydrates you, and staying hydrated is crucial to heart health.

Change Daily Behaviors

The most important step you can take towards avoiding AFib is to stop smoking. People who smoke are about twice as likely to develop AFib. The damage isn’t permanent, though. Once you quit, your chances of an attack will lower significantly.

Exercise, but not too much. Working out on a regular basis can strengthen your heart, but pushing your heart rate to the max can do more harm than good. Find a workout that keeps your heart rate lower while working your body, such as walking or swimming, and don’t workout steadily for more than 60 minutes a day unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Emotional health can have more of an effect on your heart than you know. Try to avoid stress as much as possible. Learn to meditate (or practice yoga) and make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night.

There’s a direct correlation between weight and AFib. If you’re overweight, consult with your doctor to do everything you can to get to a healthy weight.  All sensible weight loss plans will do your heart good.

If you or someone you love is at high risk for AFib, contact Dr. Dilip Mathew today. As one of the premier electrophysiologists in the Sarasota and Venice area, Dr. Mathew is dedicated to your heart health and can help you make the right lifestyle choices to ensure your heart stays healthy.