4 Ways to Reduce Stress When You Have Atrial Fibrillation

Ways to Reduce Stress : Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. An estimated 2.7 million people in the United States have AF, and it’s becoming more prevalent as the population ages. Left untreated, AF can increase your risk of stroke by five to 10 times.
Atrial fibrillation also puts you at risk for other serious complications like blood clots, dizziness, shortness of breath, and even a type of heart failure known as left ventricular failure. With treatment, however, you can reduce your risk of these complications and manage your AF with minimal stress. Here are some ways you can reduce stress when you have atrial fibrillation:

1) Communicate with your medical team

Ways to Reduce Stress
Ways to Reduce Stress

Defining terms and expectations – Make sure the terms of your treatment are clear. If you have specific questions, ask your doctor. Understanding the details of your diagnosis and treatment plan can help reduce confusion and stress. Learning about your options – If you experience side effects from your treatment, speak with your cardiologist about alternative therapies.

You should feel comfortable with your treatment plan, and knowing about your options will help reduce stress. Getting help. If you take medication to treat your arrhythmia, make sure you understand how to take it correctly. If you have trouble remembering when to take your medication, use a reminder system to reduce stress.

2) Exercise regularly

Ways to Reduce Stress
Ways to Reduce Stress

Regularly exercising can help reduce the symptoms of AF, including shortness of breath.Exercise may also help decrease your risk of blood clots, another complication of AF. Some types of exercise may even reduce the risk of stroke in AF patients. Exercises that improve your heart function, like aerobic exercises, may help reduce AF symptoms. Endurance exercises like swimming, cycling, or walking can also improve your heart function and reduce symptoms. Strength training can also help improve your heart function, but it’s not as effective as aerobic exercises. The benefits of exercise may depend on the type of AF you have, so your cardiologist may recommend a specific exercise routine.

3) Manage your diet

Ways to Reduce Stress
Ways to Reduce Stress

Some dietary changes may help reduce your risk of complications from AF, including blood clots and heart failure. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low dairy can reduce your risk of heart disease overall, including AF. Limiting or avoiding alcohol – Alcohol can increase your risk of complications from AF, and some studies suggest a reduced risk of AF with reduced alcohol consumption. If you experience regular symptoms of AF, your cardiologist may recommend you avoid alcohol. Limiting sodium (salt) – Eating a low-sodium diet may help reduce the risk of blood clots from AF. Your cardiologist may recommend a restricted sodium diet if you have a high risk of blood clots.

4) Find a support group and get counselling

Ways to Reduce Stress
Ways to Reduce Stress

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Joining a support group, like the Atrial Fibrillation Association, can help you connect with other people living with AF. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can reduce stress and boost your spirits. Additionally, many cardiologists offer comprehensive services that include mental health counselling. Mental health counselling may help you reduce stress and anxiety related to your AF. It’s also a great way to get personalized coping strategies for dealing with your arrhythmia.

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Conclusion

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. An estimated 2.7 million people in the United States have AF, and it’s becoming more prevalent as the population ages. Left untreated, AF can increase your risk of stroke by five to 10 times. Fortunately, with treatment, you can reduce your risk of these complications and manage your AF with minimal stress. Communicate with your medical team, exercise regularly, manage your diet, and find a support group and get counselling.

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