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Reversible Causes of AFib – Atrial Fibrillation

A great book by Drs. Day and Bunch, titled The AFib Cure, is a recommended read for our patients who are at risk of AFib or who have the diagnosis. In this article, I’d like to review a few of the common causes and explain how to reverse AFib or prevent the recurrence of it.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia which often develops in older individuals. But plenty of younger people suffer from it as well. It causes damage to the heart and increases the risk of both heart failure and stroke.

What Causes AFib

We know that an unhealthy lifestyle and age are the major contributors to developing AFib. Some genes have also been identified but this remains less useful for reasons I’ll discuss in other articles.

The goal of AFib reversal or management is to minimize further damage to the heart muscle.

1. Elevated Blood Pressure

Perhaps one of the strongest predictors of AFib is that elevated blood pressure causes micro damage to the atria, which can lead to scarring of the heart muscle and eventually to poor electrical activity in the heart.

2. Metabolism

Certain types of fat in the body, specifically visceral fat, seem to create inflammation that can damage the sensitive electrical tissue of the heart. Excess exercise or the lack of it should also be considered.

  • Avoid excessive, high-intensity exercise
  • Make sure to get enough training in daily

3. Medications

Common blood pressure medication, acid-reducing medication, steroids, thyroid medication, and excess caffeine seem to cause AFib or recurrences.

  • Avoid NSAIDs, stimulants, steroids, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, or THC.

4. Diet

Foods that elevate blood sugar or cause inflammation are problematic. One person might have no issues with oatmeal while another will experience a major blood sugar spike. Monitoring inflammation response to food is a good way to know what to eat and what to avoid.

  • Monitor your diet for signs of inflammation
  • Cut out processed food as much as possible
  • Aim for a more whole food based diet

5. Stress

Insomnia, anger, constant low-level stress, etc., can all contribute to the risk of developing atrial fibrillation and even other heart-related conditions such as heart failure.

  • Meditate
  • Learn stress coping mechanisms
  • Offset any stress with other desirable activities

6. Environmental

Air pollution, sound pollution, and smoking are common environmental factors that also seem to contribute to the easy excitability of cardiac muscle cells. For some, it may not be easy to affect this, but it’s also possible to minimize the impact of such factors.

  • Use headphones
  • Walk in nature
  • Have an air filter in the house
  • Grow plants

7. Hormonal

Excess thyroid hormone and excess insulin also seem to increase the risk of AFib. When thyroid medication is needed, it’s important to take the appropriate dosage to avoid damage to the electrical components of the heart.

  • Monitor your fasting insulin level
  • Check thyroid hormones

8. Alcohol

Alcohol seems to be a major risk factor for AFib. We have plenty of patients who never had issues, but consistent use of alcohol drastically increases the risk of developing AFib or recurrent of it.

  • Curb alcohol intake
  • Focus on drinking socially with friends mostly

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