Activity & Exercise Articles Cardiovascular Disease Lifestyle

Proven Ways to Prevent AFib

It’s not on most people’s radar, but there are proven ways to prevent AFib – Atrial Fibrillation – a cardiovascular condition that increases the risk of strokes and heart failure.

A great book we recommend to our patients is The AFIB Cure. It’s empowering and written by knowledgeable authors.

Lifetime Risk of AFib

The lifetime risk of AFib is 1 in 4. A good 25% of us will have AFib when we get older. Over the age of 65, it can be as high as 1 in 3.

We work with our Heat Health Coaching clients to identify their risks and adopt a way of life to help decrease that overall risk.

Healthy aging is a major program for us here at DNH, and we address all such risk factors.

Proven Ways to Prevent AFib

Here at DNH, we take evidence-based medicine seriously. We don’t just look at the latest and greatest research published without considering its biases. Instead, we focus on data that has been proven time and time again and work our way towards the factors less based on strong science.

1. Age

There are modifiable risk factors and nonmodifiable risk factors. We mention age because as Afib risk increases with age, it’s even more important to modify the factors that can help decrease our lifetime risk of developing this condition.

2. Family History

Also not a modifiable risk factor, but among the strongest drivers of Afib, having other family members with Afib increases our risk of developing Afib at some point in our lives.

3. Hypertension

From causing left atrial enlargement to increased sympathetic activity, elevated blood pressure is a major driver of Atrial Fibrillation.

It’s a modifiable risk factor. Those who manage their blood pressure even with medications will see a 26% decrease in the lifetime risk of developing Afib.

4. Excessive Exercise

Younger athletes who train quite hard may be at increased risk of AFib. Fortunately, their cardiac arrhythmia may not necessarily increase their risk of stroke – the main side effect of having this condition.

Nevertheless, if family history is present and if any other abnormal rhythms are present, it’s worthwhile to investigate the potential for paroxysmal AFib further.

5. Sleep Apnea

Decreased blood oxygenation, elevated pressure on the heart, and increased risk of PACs may all contribute to developing AFib if Sleep Apnea remains poorly controlled.

A study over 5 years showed that controlling Sleep Apnea with a CPAP device may decrease the risk of developing atrial fibrillation by 40%.

6. Endocrine Problems

Obesity, blood sugar dysregulation, and thyroid problems can contribute to AFib.

Don’t Fear AFib

Fortunately, we have medications to treat AFib, and this is important to mention because this article isn’t meant to be fear-inducing.

Some will even develop transient AFib brought on by stress, sleep, or dietary changes which might resolve on its own.

From medication to ablation to lifestyle changes, there are ways of treating AFib, which we’ll discuss in future articles. One of our clients cut out alcohol and with it, her AFib disappeared.

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