Atrial fibrillation is the disturbance of the heart beat to an irregular pattern. Atrial fibrillation is due to normal wear and tear on the heart muscle and also due to cardiovascular problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure). During atrial fibrillation, the electrical activity of the atria becomes uncoordinated. The atria beat so rapidly, as fast as 350-600 beats a minute, that instead of producing a single, forceful contraction, they fibrillate (quiver). Atrial fibrillation can be intermittent, lasting a few minutes to an hour or more, before returning to a regular heart rhythm.
COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
- age and genetics
- stress and nervousness
- alcohol consumption
- other underlying cardiovascular conditions such as coronary heart disease
- electrolyte imbalances
- over use of stimulants (coffee, tea, nicotine, recreational drugs)
- thyroid conditions
Addressing nervousness and anxiety is recommended in cases such as altered heart beats as there is a direct relationship between the health of the heart muscle and the nervous system. Everybody knows the effect of a sudden accident or scare has on the rhythm of the heart (it beats wildly). This is due to stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline causing the heart to leap into a fight/ flight response.
DIET TIPS TO IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTION
- Increase foods which contain Oligomeric Procyanidins (OPC’s) such as blueberries, grapes, bilberry’s, cranberries, pine bark, dark chocolate and red wine
- Increase foods to improve circulation such as antioxidant rich foods – blueberries, green tea, grapes, berries, pineapples, chillies, dark chocolate, garlic, turmeric, fish, ginger and olive oil
- Ensure that you are drinking sufficient amounts of water (at least 2 litres/ day) as dehydration can cause the tissues to hold onto excessive amounts of fluids
- In addition, aim for a healthy lifestyle with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, quality organic dairy products, a wide range of quality protein sources in your diet such as legumes, nuts and seeds
LIFESTYLE FACTORS TO IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR FUNCTION
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