For some, Atrial Fibrillation it’s triggered by alcohol or caffeine. For others, it’s certain types of foods or during exercise but for some, stress may be a trigger for afib. Whilst more research is needed to determine how stress directly affects the heart, stress may affect behaviours and factors that trigger and increase the risk of an afib attack such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating.
Getting overly stressed can be like a shot of adrenaline to your heart. Identifying your personal stresses and taking steps to avoid them can help you to reduce your risk of an afib event. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help with reducing stress.
The first thing some people crave in stressful situations is a drink or a cigarette — or both. But these are unhealthy and ineffective ways of coping with stress that can actually worsen atrial fibrillation. Nicotine is a stimulant that can trigger the condition, and severe atrial fibrillation symptoms can occur after an episode of binge drinking.
Managing stress is a good idea for your overall health and more so when you suffer from Afib. A few studies have examined how well treatment or therapies work in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular diseases. People who suffer from atrial fibrillation or another heart related condition and feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed by stress should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professionals.
People with afib that maintain an upbeat attitude are less likely to feel stressed and trigger afib through negative thoughts. Laughing has been found to help lower stress and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure. Anyone can learn to meditate. Just take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Yoga can also help relax the mind and body.
Every time you are physically active, be that taking a walk or playing tennis, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, exercising can help reduce blood pressure. Make sure that you are staying healthy whilst exercising as over exertion can trigger afib. Here are a few tips for how to exercise safely with atrial fibrillation.
In todays modern world it near impossible to escape stress when it follows you everywhere. Taking even just 10-15 minutes per day to avoid emails, social media and news can help you with reducing stress.
For more information about reducing the risks of Atrial Fibrillation, take a look at the Atrial Fibrillation page. If you need to speak to a specialist about AF then get in touch with Dr Segal here on the website or over on his dedicated Doctify page!