A client recently reported to me that he suffers from atrial fibrillation (aka “A-fib”) and I asked him what he’s doing about it.
He said, “Well, there’s really not much I can do besides take my medications, right?”
Here is what I told him about Afib and ways you can help counteract its harmful effects if you’ve got it.
Afib—not a lie
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a condition characterized by an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can ultimately increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, and other complications.
Your heart is “out of rhythm” with Afib—the upper chambers (the atria) beat erratically and out of sync with the lower ones (the ventricles).
Although many people have no symptoms and don’t even know they have Afib until it shows up on an EKG or similar test, others suffer undeniable symptoms including:
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
How you can help
Although most people with Afib go on to lead perfectly normal lives, since there is potential for serious cardiovascular problems, it’s crucial to do all you can to counteract any underlying issues and risk factors.
Here are some ways you can help:
Lose weight if you need to
Being overweight increases your risk of just about every disease, Afib included. Don’t go for the gimmicks—the tried and true formula for weight loss is a healthy diet and regular exercise (with your doctor’s OK, of course). Make your meals predominantly proteins and veggies and avoid the starchy carbs and sugars. Aim to exercise at least 3-4 times a week.
Inflammation is a factor behind countless diseases, especially cardiovascular conditions. A healthy diet featuring a variety of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables is step one. Also, consider supplementing with Nature’s perfect anti-inflammatory--omega-3 fatty acids—as well as vitamin D. VitalMega-3 fish oil formula and Optimum DK Formula with FruiteX-B®, can help fill this important need and fight to keep inflammation low in your tissues and blood vessels.
(Note: Be sure to talk to your doctor first if you are taking blood thinners or other medications.)
Stress can trigger inflammation and worsen heart rhythm conditions, plus it can also cause weight gain—making it a triple whammy for people with Afib. Do whatever you need to do—deep breathing, massage, prayer, essential oils like lavender, therapy, adopting a pet and meditation can all help. Plus keep in mind that regular exercise is the #1 stress reducer in the world.
Acupuncture can also help reduce stress and bring the body back into a healthy balance.
Get your thyroid tested
Thyroid disorders are an underlying factor behind many cases of Afib, as thyroid hormones control just about every process in your body.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
Proper sleep is essential to keep stress low and for your body to maintain normal internal rhythms. If you have trouble sleeping, here are some ways to help:
- Avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine before bedtime (actually, most all the time!)
- Drink chamomile tea in the evening
- Consider L-tryptophan or melatonin supplements
- Take a warm bath or shower in the evening
- Avoid watching unsettling images on TV including suspenseful or violent movies or the news
- Get into a good routine—try to go to bed and get up at the same times each night and day
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids like VitalMega-3 are helpful with sleep too
- Regular exercise can help encourage better sleep—just make sure you are not exercising too close to bedtime or it may backfire on you and keep you awake!
To your health,