Maintaining a Healthy Heart Rhythm
Treat or, when possible, eliminate risk factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease or cardiac arrhythmias by
Monitoring and Treating Existing Heart Disorders
- Making healthy lifestyle choices. Living a "heart healthy" life is the best way to decrease the chances of developing heart disorders. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy, low-fat diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other vitamin-rich foods are the cornerstones of "heart healthy" living.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Stopping smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke. Tobacco contributes to as much as one-third of all cardiovascular disease.
- Avoiding or limiting the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and other substances that may contribute to arrhythmias or heart disease.
- Avoiding unnecessary stress, such as anger, anxiety or fear, and finding ways to manage or control stressful situations that cannot be avoided.
- Having regular physical exams and promptly reporting any unusual symptoms to a physician. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that families with a history of arrhythmias or sudden cardiac arrest consider screening younger family members.
- Seeking treatment for underlying health problems that may contribute to arrhythmias and heart disease. Any of the following conditions can increase the likelihood of developing arrhythmias:
- Coronary artery disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart failure
- Heart valve damage
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Thyroid disease
- High-fat diet
- Lack of physical exercise
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Drug abuse
- Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies
- Advancing age
Effectively treating any existing heart disorder is the best way to prevent it from becoming more severe. You can do this by:
- Having regular check ups.
- Understanding how various conditions increase the risk of arrhythmias.
- Learning about heart disorders, tests, and treatment options, and discussing them with caregivers.
- Finding out if the heart's electrical system and its ability to pump blood efficiently have been affected by heart muscle damage from a heart attack or another cause.
- Learning the importance of an ejection fraction (EF). EF is a measure of the proportion, or fraction, of blood the heart pumps out with each beat. An abnormally low EF is the single most important factor in predicting the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
- Following treatment plans and taking all medications as prescribed.
- Reporting any new symptoms or changes in existing symptoms to physicians as soon as possible.