Preventing Arrhythmia

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on July 8, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD on July 8, 2014

Preventing Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia can be caused by many things. It may be congenital (present at birth). It may be the result of environmental factors, such as emotional or mental stress. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, and use of illegal drugs increase your chances of developing an arrhythmia. Arrhythmia may be caused by another condition, such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.

You may not be able to prevent the development of an arrhythmia. But if you have an arrhythmia, you can take steps to prevent future symptoms and reduce the chances that your arrhythmia will get worse.

Assess Your Arrhythmia

The first step is to understand your arrhythmia. Start by answering the following questions:

  • What causes your arrhythmia? Is it brought on by an external factor such as stress or smoking? Or is it the result of another disease?
  • Where in your heart does the arrhythmia begin?
  • Does your heart beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly?
  • What makes your symptoms worse?
  • What makes your symptoms better?

Understanding your arrhythmia will help you make choices that help you avoid symptoms. It also helps you communicate your needs to family, friends, and healthcare providers.

Prevention Measures

Avoid Triggers

With the help of your doctor, try to determine things that trigger your symptoms, or times when your symptoms become worse. These may be stressful situations at work, home, or school. They may also be personal relationships or conflicts. Triggers may be substances such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Medications you take for another condition might be causing arrhythmia. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about changing the medication or reducing the dose. Don’t try to do this on your own. You might make things worse.

If you’re able to avoid these triggers or deal with them in a healthier, more productive way, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise increases your heart’s strength and stamina; it decreases your chances of having heart health issues in the future.

Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants that may cause an increased heart rate. The same goes for some over-the-counter medicines and illegal drugs. Alcohol may also affect your heart rate. Avoiding these and eventually cutting them out of your life altogether may reduce symptoms and episodes of arrhythmia. It will also reduce your chances of dealing with health issues, such as heart disease and cancer, in the future.

Have a Plan of Action

If your arrhythmia or symptoms need medical attention, you should have a reaction plan designed for your specific needs. This may mean taking medication as soon as you begin feeling symptoms, or using a well-rehearsed exercise or maneuver to help get your heart back into rhythm. Work with your doctor to ensure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to recover from the symptoms in a healthy way.

Try Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There is good evidence that most Americans do not ingest enough omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to reduce events in the heart that lead to arrhythmia, and to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating two large meals of fatty fish per week.  Most people can more easily obtain appropriate intake by taking a nutritional supplement (such as fish oil).

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Show Sources

Trending Now

Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine: What Are the Differences?
There is not just one type of migraine. Chronic migraine is one subtype of migraine. Understand what sets these two conditions apart.
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Asthma shouldn’t be a barrier to staying active and fit. Learn about famous athletes who didn’t let asthma stop them from achieving their goals.
Understanding the Progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Understanding the Progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis
One serious potential cause of back pain is ankylosing spondylitis. Get an understanding of what this condition is, how it progresses, and potential complications in this slideshow.
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Learn about some of the most common triggers for asthma, as well as measures you can take to minimize your risk of exposure, symptoms, and flares.
Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Learn how to discreetly carry your epinephrine autoinjectors safely and discreetly. It’s easier than you think to keep your shots on hand when you’re on the go.