All a flutter
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib , is a condition you’re going to hear about more than once in your lifetime. This heart condition, characterized by an irregular and often fast heartbeat, has become a growing epidemic, affecting more than one million people in the UK. With odds like these, it’s possible that A-fib could affect you or someone you love.
WHEN YOUR HEART SKIPS A BEAT
As Dr. Dhiraj Gupta, consultant electrophysiologist at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, explained in his interview with June Davison of the British Heart Foundation, atrial fibrillation occurs when the natural pacemaker (the sinus node) of the heart malfunctions, located in the right atrium.1 When someone has A-fib, electrical impulses normally produced by heart’s pacemaker fire from different locations in the atria to cause chaos in the heart. This makes the heart beat irregular and sometimes fast. Atrial fibrillation remains the most common type of arrhythmia with a significantly higher risk of death for men compared to women.
When a heart is in A -fib, it may beat at 100 to 175 bpm, compared to a normal resting heartbeat at 60 to 100 bpm.
But because this quivering in the chest is so subtle, it can be hard to detect if you don’t know what symptoms to look for. According to AFA International, the most common symptom of atrial fibrillation is heart palpitations.2 An abnormal heartbeat may be followed by exhaustion and fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting, chest pain, and difficulty sleeping. And for many people with permanent A-fib, it may appear that no symptoms are present. Atrial fibrillation may only be diagnosed after a doctor listens to the heart at a routine checkup.
Contrary to what love songs have told us, a fluttering heart that “skips a beat” is not normal. If left untreated, this arrhythmia can damage the heart and open the door to a number of heart-related complications. A-fib can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers confirm that atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of the most common type of heart attack by 70 per cent, with rates even higher among African-Americans and women.3 People with atrial fibrillation are more likely to have a stroke in cold weather, while atrial fibrillation coupled with high blood pressure can increase stroke risk by 50 per cent.4,5
It’s alarming to think that an irregular heartbeat can quickly and silently compromise heart health, but that’s exactly what is happening to millions of people around the world. Doctors can offer a Band-Aid in the form of drugs or electrical stimulation to shock the heart back into rhythm. These “quick fix” solutions may provide temporary relief, but they come with their own side effects that can speed the decline into poor health. Roughly a quarter of atrial fibrillation patients at the lowest risk for stroke are prescribed unnecessary blood thinners by cardiologists; atrial fibrillation patients who take too many blood thinners have a higher risk of developing dementia.6,7
Without addressing the cause of atrial fibrillation, heart health will only continue to get worse.
BE STILL, MY HEART
Doctors believe irregular beating can be caused by health problems that damage the structure of the heart to confuse its signals, like high blood pressure, a heart attack, a heart defect, or a valve abnormality. Atrial fibrillation may also occur related to an overactive thyroid gland, a metabolic imbalance, a viral infection, sleep apnea, stress, or stimulant use, like caffeine, alcohol, medication, or tobacco. Other cases of atrial fibrillation, like Lone Atrial Fibrillation, appear to have no known cause.
If you have an irregular heartbeat, finding a clear explanation for your condition can seem nearly impossible. But despite the many A-fib triggers, we know one thing to be true: Your diet directly affects the health of your heart — and your heart rhythm.
Before you consent to a lifetime of medication or electrical cardioversion to shock your heart back into rhythm, consider how your lifestyle can support your heart:
1. Cut out inflammation.
Inflammation in the body is a known trigger of chronic disease and can set the stage for heart attack and stroke. You can calm inflammation by cutting off its source: an inflammatory diet rich in processed foods, starchy carbohydrates, and dairy products. Eat Really Healthy Foods instead, like fresh or frozen vegetables, dark-skinned fruits and avocados, healthy oils, oily fish, moderate pasture-fed meats, beans, nuts, and seeds. Drinking a minimum of six glasses of distilled or filtered water per day with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda can help to improve oxygen transport to and from the heart.
2. Supply missing nutrients.
There are two critical nutrients that have a direct relationship with the rhythm of your heart. Taurine is an amino acid found in protein that makes up 50 per cent of the free amino acid in the heart. When taken daily, taurine can strengthen the heart; researchers believe cardiac arrhythmias without a known cause are merely symptoms of a taurine and arginine deficiency.8 Along with taurine, magnesium is another essential nutrient your heart may be missing. The mineral magnesium can increase ATP, or cellular energy, and protein molecules needed by the heart to contract and relax in a regular rhythm. Because of magnesium’s unique electrophysiological effect on the body, intravenous magnesium has been used to prevent A-fib after surgery.9 For daily use, topical magnesium provides the most rapid absorption. Magnesium and taurine can be taken along with a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to prevent nutrient deficiency that can affect the health of the heart.
3. Repair and recover.
We can all agree that exercise is important to maintain heart health, but it may prove especially beneficial in cases of A-fib. American College of Cardiology researchers discovered that obese atrial fibrillation patients could reduce the risk of arrhythmia by improving their cardiorespiratory fitness.10 You can strengthen heart health by exercising for 60 minutes over the day and by reducing sitting to no more than three hours a day. Hand-in-hand with exercise, an electro- acupressure device can be used at home to correct internal imbalances that can burden the heart, providing relief for numerous heart problems caused by mineral deficiency.
So many times, atrial fibrillation is presented as a frightening, life-long problem without hope for recovery, when this could not be further from the truth. Inflammation and missing minerals can cause the heart to beat out of rhythm. Embrace an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, and you may have a change of heart.
Unique blend of ultra pure magnesium chloride with MSM, for superior absorption. Contributes to normal energy levels and a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Amino acid from protein, delivers 50mg per serving (x5 sprays), which is the equivalent of approx. 500mg in tablet form. The best form of Taurine supplementation.
The perfect ‘Super MultiVitamin’ formula for all the family, with x130 nutrients, vitamins and minerals delivered in each capsule.
Become a master of acupuncture but without the needles! Developed over 14 years with a leading specialist, HealthPoint can help over 160 conditions, as shown in the manual.
1. “Focus On: Atrial Fibrillation.” British Heart Foundation.
2. “What are the symptoms of AF?” AFA International.
3. E. Z. Soliman, F. Lopez, W. T. O’Neal, L. Y. Chen, L. Bengtson, Z.-M. Zhang, L. Loehr, M. Cushman, A. Alonso. Atrial Fibrillation and Risk of ST-Segment Elevation versus Non-ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Circulation, 2015; DOI: 10.1161/ CIRCULATIONAHA.114.014145.
4. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). “Cold weather linked to increased stroke risk in atrial fibrillation patients.” ScienceDaily.
5. “High blood pressure increases risk of stroke for atrial fibrillation patients.” Duke Medicine.
6. Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS. Oral Anticoagulant Prescription in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and a Low Risk of Thromboembolism: Insights From the NCDR PINNACLE Registry. JAMA Internal Medicine, April 2015 DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.0920.
7. “Expanding the Evaluation and Treatment of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation to Minimize the Risk of Dementia.” Journal of Innovations in Cardiac Rhythm Management, 3 (2012), 855–863.
8. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(5):1200-4. Epub 2006 Jun 23.
9. Magnes Res. 2008 Mar;21(1):65-8.
10. Rajeev K. Pathak, Adrian Elliott, Melissa E. Middeldorp, Megan Meredith, Abhinav B. Mehta, Rajiv Mahajan, Jeroen M.L. Hendriks, Darragh Twomey, Jonathan M. Kalman, Walter P. Abhayaratna, Dennis
H. Lau, Prashanthan Sanders. Impact of CARDIOrespiratory FITness on Arrhythmia Recurrence in Obese Individuals with Atrial Fibrillation: The CARDIO-FIT Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.06.488.