A diagnosis of any heart abnormality isn’t something to take lightly. Arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation are two of the most common heart rhythm irregularities.
They can be harmless, or they can be deadly. And you don’t want to play around with your heart issues until you figure out which version you have.
Heartbeats are determined by electrical impulses. When these are out of rhythm, your heart beats faster, slower, or in an irregular pattern. You might notice signs like fluttering or racing in your chest or feel nothing wrong at all.
An asymptomatic heart rhythm problem is still a problem. If you’ve been diagnosed with any kind of heart irregularity, follow these do’s and don’ts to be cautious.
1. Don’t Skip Out on Exercising
Unless your doctor explicitly says otherwise, a heart problem isn’t a reason to avoid physical activity. You’ll have to adjust what you do if you’re used to heavy exertion, but you can—and should—still workout.
Before you start any exercise routine, talk to your doctor. Together, you both can create a plan that is manageable for you and safe for your condition.
Light physical activity may still trigger your heart to work too hard. Pay attention to your body’s signals. It will warn you that you should stop.
Signs like chest pain, dizziness, feeling woozy, and palpitations shouldn’t be ignored. Stop the activity, and call 911 if the symptom doesn’t go away or worsens over the next few minutes.
2. Do Limit Your Caffeine
You already know that too much caffeine can cause jitters and keep you awake. We use it to stay alert, yet, when the ingredient causes your heart to work too hard, it’s crossed the line from helpful to dangerous.
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
There’s no hard and fast limit to how much caffeine you can have. Everyone responds uniquely. Factors like the amount of caffeine in the drink, how fast you consume it, and your condition come into play.
Experts agree that one product to definitely avoid is energy drinks. Some of the brands have over 200 mg each serving, with multiple servings in a can. In comparison, an 8 oz cup of coffee has around 100 mg.
Even people without heart problems can end up with one if they regularly consume energy drinks. Do stay away from them, and get your caffeine fix elsewhere.
3. Don’t Forget to Rest
When you’re sleeping, your brain uses that time to recover from the stresses of the day. Without sufficient sleep, it can’t do the job of eliminating toxins, repairing tissue, and rebuilding muscle.
All of this has to be fixed in your heart every night, too. Sleep is the only time this essential organ isn’t working on overload.
But when you have heart rhythm issues, sleep is even more important. Fatigue and sleep deprivation adds stress to your heart, which weakens the muscle. Your arrhythmia or other condition ends up getting worse instead of better.
If you can’t sleep, don’t ignore it. It’s not “normal” or something you should get used to. Your doctor can help you find ways to improve your quality of sleep that won’t interfere with your condition.
4. Do Talk to Your Doctor About CBD
Studies on cannabinoids show that CBD may be able to help minimize cardiovascular problems.
Antioxidants and inflammation play a significant role in heart health. And cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in spades.
Why CBD May Help Heart Rhythm Disorders
Recent research on patients with hypertension, or high blood pressure, demonstrated consistent improvement with CBD treatment. Hypertension causes the arteries flowing to and from your heart to constrict. Blood flow is restricted, and your heart has to work harder.
The results of this and many other studies highlight CBD, either with or without THC, as a potential solution for heart rhythm problems.
Never try a new medicine or natural herb or supplement without talking to your doctor first. They know your health history and can let you know the advantages and disadvantages of products like CBD on your medical conditions.
5. Do “Just Say No” to Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant that can increase your risk of heart disease. You already have an irregularity in your heart muscle. Drinking more than one or two glasses of an alcoholic drink a day worsens the problem.
As with caffeine, everyone’s ability to tolerate alcohol is different. Monitor how much you’re drinking and pay attention to your body closely when you do drink.
Illegal drugs are even more dangerous. They can cause heart attacks, respiratory problems, and seizures in a perfectly healthy adult. When you already have heart problems, the risks are substantially greater.
When in doubt, just say no. Your heart and health are worth it.
A heart irregularity doesn’t have to be a life-changing diagnosis. These four do’s and don’ts help you stay healthy and avoid triggering your condition.