An arrhythmia has several possible causes. It may be congenital, or present at birth. It may develop due to environmental factors, such as emotional or mental stress. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, and use of illegal drugs can increase your chances of developing an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia can also occur due to another condition, such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.
You may not be able to prevent the development of an arrhythmia. However, if you have an arrhythmia, you can take steps to prevent future symptoms and reduce the chances that your arrhythmia will get worse.
The first step is to understand your arrhythmia. Start by answering the following questions with the help of your doctor:
- 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:
- your family members
- your friends
- your doctor
- other healthcare providers
Your doctor can help you determine things that trigger your symptoms, or times when your symptoms become worse. These may be stressful situations at work, home, or school. Personal relationships or conflicts can be triggers as well. Triggers can also be substances such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
Medications you take for another condition might be causing arrhythmia. Discuss this possibility with your doctor. Ask them whether you should change any medications you’re taking or reduce the dose. You shouldn’t try to do this on your own. Doing so may make things worse.
If you’re able to avoid these triggers or deal with them in a certain way, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Exercise increases your heart’s strength and stamina. It also decreases your chances of having heart issues in the future.
The following can increase your heart rate:
- certain illegal drugs
- certain over-the-counter medicines
Avoiding these substances and eventually cutting them out of your life altogether may reduce the symptoms of arrhythmia and the number of episodes. It can also reduce your chances of developing other health issues, such as heart disease and cancer, in the future.
Have a plan of action
You should have a plan designed for your specific needs if your arrhythmia or symptoms need medical attention. 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 make sure you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to recover from the symptoms in a healthy way.
Try omega-3 fatty acids
Study results show that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish containing omega-3 fatty acids two times per week. You can also increase your intake by taking a nutritional supplement, such as fish oil.