Natural Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation: What Are My Options?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (or AFib, as you’ll commonly hear this condition called) you may be scared. Your cardiologist has probably put you on a multitude of medications, from aspirin, to beta-blockers, to anti-arrhythmic medications, to blood thinners, and they may have also discussed various surgical procedures to fix the abnormal rhythm.
You know AFib is nothing to mess with; the risk of not treating AFib appropriately is blood clots and stroke. The various treatments your cardiologist has recommended are more than likely necessary to prevent these scary complications, but there may be other complementary therapies that can be added to conventional therapy to help treat your AFib.
These non-pharmacologic approaches should be discussed with your physician. The therapies discussed are absolutely not meant to replace any medication prescribed by your doctor, who has prescribed a medication in your best interest, knowing your health history and current condition.
Yoga and breathing exercises for atrial fibrillation could be beneficial. A study performed at the University of Kansas hospital found that regular yoga sessions decreased the amount of AFib episodes by about 45 percent in the 49 patients participating in the study.
These patients were still on anticoagulant therapy and anti-arrhythmic therapy — yoga did not get rid of AFib, but it did decrease the symptoms associated with their conditions. However, due to the small sample size, further research is needed to quantify the results.
Deficiencies in electrolytes can cause heart arrhythmias. Supplementing with the appropriate minerals as necessary can possibly prevent AFib from happening. For example, some doctors may agree to taking magnesium and calcium supplements.
Caffeine can speed up the heart rate, which can cause an abnormal heart rhythm. Avoiding products with caffeine, such as coffee, soda, teas, guarana and yerba mate may help to prevent AFib.
Stress can contribute to AFib and it can also make it worse. Managing your stress is probably the number one thing you can do for your AFib, besides taking your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
As previously discussed, yoga may have a direct effect on reduction of AFib symptoms. This may because it decreases stress in some people. Meditation and relaxation techniques are also ways to decrease stress levels immediately if you are feeling stressed.
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can also promote a low stress level.
Although research is still being done, there may be a direct correlation between AFib and levels of depression and anxiety. It appears that those affected by AFib may have higher levels of these mental health conditions.
If you have depression or anxiety, using tactics to control your symptoms are key. However, there is no shame in seeking assistance from your doctor or a therapist if needed. Depression and anxiety are multifaceted; it can affect not just your AFib, but also your entire body