Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, lifestyle changes often are recommended. Living a “heart healthy” lifestyle can ease the symptoms experienced with heart rhythm disorders and other heart disorders, and can be beneficial to overall patient health.
Risk Factors for Arrhythmias and Heart Disease
The following conditions can increase the chance of developing arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms:
- Coronary artery disease (blockage in the arteries/pipes of the heart)
- High Blood Pressure
- High cholesterol
- A high-fat diet
- Excessive use of alcohol (more than 2 drinks per day)
- Drug abuse
- Family history of heart disease
- Advancing age (getting older)
- Sleep apnea
- Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies
Preventing Arrhythmias and Heart Disease
- Prevent heart disease by lowering risk factors that can lead to heart disease or cardiac heart rhythm problems, and by monitoring and treating any existing heart problems that you have.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Living a "heart healthy" life is the best way to reduce the chances of developing heart disorders. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy, low-fat diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other vitamin-rich foods are the cornerstones of "heart healthy" living.
- Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke (smoke from other people). Tobacco contributes to as much as one-third of all heart disease.
- Avoid or limit the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and other recreational drugs.
- Avoid unnecessary stress, such as anger, anxiety, or fear, and find ways to manage or control stressful situations that cannot be avoided.
- Have regular physical exams and tell your doctor right away about any unusual symptoms you may have.
- Talk to a doctor about treating health problems that may contribute to abnormal heart rhythms and heart disease, including atherosclerosis("clogged" arteries), heart valve damage, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and thyroid disease.