While on the surface, a heart rhythm condition like Atrial Fibrillation or AFib does not seem related to diet, the truth is what we eat can affect our heart and can modify the risk for AFib. So with that said, what food should you include in your diet and what foods should be avoided when changing your diet to address your AFib diagnosis?
One of the primary concerns when dealing with irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmias, is the prevention of stroke. Those with Atrial Fibrillation, or Afib, have a five-times higher risk of stroke than patients who do not have this common arrhythmia. Therefore, anything that increases the risk of heart disease or stroke is critically important both to my practice and to our patients.
To that end, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology took a deeper look into the effects of eating or skipping breakfast on stroke risk and heart disease more generally. The causal relationship between skipping breakfast every day and increased stroke risk, in particular, is startlingly strong. Some of the most interesting takeaways from the study1 include:
With energy drinks turning into a multibillion-dollar industry over the past couple decades, it is important understand what these drinks contain, how they affect our bodies and, for the purposes of this post, how they affect heart rhythm. We know, for example, that there have been reports of major cardiac events as a result of the misuse and even abuse of these drinks –where the sheer amount of caffeine and/or sugar consumed has sent some into cardiac arrest.
But how do we really know how much is too much?
One of the most concerning consequence of atrial fibrillation is the five-times-greater risk of developing a stroke compared to those without AF. This is because AFib can promote the pooling and subsequent clotting of blood in the heart. When that clot (thrombus) travels outside of the heart it is called a thromboembolism. If it goes to the brain it causes a stroke. One of the first lines of treatment for atrial fibrillation includes anticoagulants or blood thinners.