Protect Against AFib Complications
If you suffer from AFib, your doctor will likely suggest you give up alcohol, or cut down dramatically.
If you do decide to imbibe, take a few precautions to protect your body and ward off a more serious health issue:
- Space out your drinks. Binge drinking can increase your risk of AFib by up to 60%. Stick to the medical community’s recommendations: less than two drinks a day for women, and less than three for men. Also, try to sip slowly to give your body a chance to filter the alcohol.
- Monitor your blood pressure. Alcohol increases blood pressure, and that can spell trouble for your heart. If you experience AFib (or are worried about it), buy an inexpensive blood pressure monitor to keep track of your blood pressure at home.
- Balance electrolytes. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it encourages your kidneys to draw water from your body. Along with that water, your body loses electrolytes – important minerals like sodium and potassium that keep all of your systems functioning well.
Electrolytes are vital for proper heart function, so be sure you replace your lost liquids with water, as well as nutritious food and other non-caffeinated drinks.
- Sleep well. It’s no secret that good sleep does wonders for your overall health, but problems with your sleep can have the very opposite effect.
Those who suffer from sleep apnea are at higher risk for AFib, and the sedative effect of alcohol can complicate matters. A CPAP machine can help those with apnea breathe more efficiently while they’re asleep.
In many cases, an adjustment in alcohol consumption can make a big difference in the frequency of your AFib episodes. What you eat and drink has a direct impact on your heart health, and good choices now can mean a much better quality of life in the years to come.
Besides keeping an eye on how much alcohol you drink, you should also monitor the consumption of coffee – ideally drink no more than 2-3 cups a day. Adopt a healthy diet and a customized fitness plan (of moderate intensity), avoid stress (both long term stress and sudden, intense stress can lead to new episodes of AFib) and do not smoke.