If you have atrial fibrillation, here are some practical tips to help you live with and manage your condition.
Your care team’s main goal is to help you live a healthier life. They will know only what you tell them about how your condition is affecting what you do and how you feel.
Tell your care team exactly how you feel, what your fears are about AFib, and how AFib has changed or limited your activities. They will use this information to better tailor your treatment.
Many people with AFib also have heart failure. Ask about how to pace yourself and when to report in.
AFib can increase your chance of having a stroke. Your care team is in the best position to calculate your risk.
Most people with AFib may need to take a prescription blood thinner to prevent clots from forming, but some need no medications. Discuss with your care team in detail to understand the right options for you.
Medications are an important part of managing AFib, both to control your heart rate and risk of stroke. But medications work only if you take them the right way. Always tell your health care team about any side effects. Also, don’t stop taking or make changes to your medications without talking to your health care team first.
Over time, AFib can change the shape and size of the heart and how electrical signals are communicated. Medications can help regulate AFib, but which ones you take or the amount sometimes needs to be changed. Therapies such as cardioversion to try to “kick” the heart into a normal rhythm or ablation may be considered to help you improve your symptoms.
These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, diabetes and heart failure. Also ask your care team about sleep apnea because many people with AFib also have this sleep disorder. All these conditions need to be addressed and treated if you have them.
It’s very important to be mindful about the types of foods fueling your body. Talk with your health care team about how to adopt a healthy eating plan that is low in fat and salt. Ask whether talking with a dietitian would be helpful.
Keep in mind that alcohol and some stimulants can trigger episodes of AFib.
Certain things can trigger atrial fibrillation and acute episodes in people who already have it. For example: