Could You be Facing Unknown Triggers for Afib?

Atrial fibrillation, known as afib, is a condition that reflects an irregularity in a person’s heartbeat. Either the heart pumps too quickly or at an erratic pace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to approximately 6 million Americans may have atrial fibrillation. Many of them don’t know it.

Afib may occur without symptoms, or the sensations of the irregular or fast heartbeat may be triggered by certain factors. Many people who have been diagnosed with afib know that sensations such as heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath could occur after drinking alcohol or smoking. Sometimes exercise triggers symptoms. The more we learn about this condition overall, the more “hidden” triggers have been found. It is important to know what they are so you can protect your heart health.

Stress

Several studies have demonstrated a clear link between mental stress and atrial fibrillation, including one in which participants’ heart rhythm measured notable irregularities on days when their stress levels were increased. Another study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, reported a nearly 50 percent increase in afib risk in patients who experienced “job strain.”

Exercise

We are typically taught that exercise is good for heart health. It is. However, in patients with afib, there may be such a thing as too much exercise. People who experience symptoms of atrial fibrillation may need to avoid strenuous activity such as running or high-impact interval training. The healthiest strategy in this situation is to find the sweet spot; the level of activity that will promote cardiovascular strength without overdoing it to the point of symptoms.

Sex Hormones

In recent years, medicine has become much savvier in the area of hormones and how they affect general health and wellness. Many people are currently being treated with bioidentical hormones to offset the natural decline that occurs with age. This is a strategy that must be conducted with oversight from an experienced physician. According to a study published in Endocrine in 2017, researchers found that men with higher levels of bioavailable testosterone had an increased risk of afib. The same study also found that higher levels of bioavailable testosterone had the opposite effect on women.

Atrial fibrillation may be an indicator of another heart condition. It may also develop as a primary condition. If you experience symptoms of irregular heartbeat, speak with your doctor. Specific cardiac tests can be conducted to better observe your heart health and risk for cardiac events.

Do you have questions about afib or other cardiac symptoms? Contact Premier Cardiology Consultants at 516-437-5600. We have offices in Lake Success, Forest Hills, and Richmond Hill to serve you.

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