Affecting more than 30 million people worldwide, atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm affecting the upper chambers of the heart (atria). Those with AFib are at an increased risk of suffering a stroke or developing heart-related issues. People with AFib often experience a heart rate ranging from 100-175 beats per minute; normal is 60-100 bpm.
Causes of atrial fibrillation
Existing damage to the heart or congenital heart defects, including abnormal heart valves, are some common causes of AFib. The condition may also develop in individuals with coronary artery disease or those who have had a heart attack or heart surgery for an unrelated issue.
While rare, AFib can occur without related heart issues (lone atrial fibrillation). Most occurrences of atrial fibrillation can be managed with medication, periodic monitoring, and proactive lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, minimizing alcohol consumption, and keeping any underlying conditions under control.
Atrial Fibrillation Prevention
Anything that prevents heart disease is good for preventing atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association.
Such preventive measures might include
Maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise activity three times a week or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise. You can mix the two styles
To lower blood pressure or cholesterol, do 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking
If you’re new to exercising or returning after a long layoff, consult your doctor for approval and suggestions. Then start slowly and build up, especially if you are overweight or obese
To improve stamina and flexibility, add strength and stretching exercises to your routine
Treat existing conditions that may lead to atrial fibrillation
Limit sugar, salt, and fat in your diet
Reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume
Eat a healthier diet to control your weight. You can find heart-healthy food suggestions from the American Heart Association and many other sources, including your local bookstore
Avoid cough and cold medicines that contain stimulants, which make your heart beat faster
In case of an emergency it's important to know CPR and First-Aid.
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