Losing 10% of weight can reverse atrial fibrillation (AFib), according to an Australian study published June 14, 2018 in the heart journal Eurospace. Researchers from the Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) discovered that losing only 10% of weight could stop the progression of AFib.
Also, not smoking nor drinking alcohol and coffee, getting a good night’s sleep and not over exerting physical exercise can also help to stop atrial fibrillation and the progression to a stroke. This is according to another study published February 14, 2019 in the journal HeartRhythm by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial fibrillation occurs when the electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart begin acting chaotically. This causes the atrial walls to quiver instead of contracting normally to move blood to the lower chambers of the heart. This scenario can lead to blood clots forming and a clot can make its way from the heart to the brain and cause an ischemic stroke.
AFib Causes 15-20% of Ischemic Strokes
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common reason for an irregular heartbeat known as an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly or two quickly or in some abnormal way. Even though AFib is a problem with the heart, AFib increases the risk by five times for having an ischemic brain stroke. It is estimated that AFib causes 15-20% of ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke is when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot or by plaque in the lining of the blood vessel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 2.7–6.1 million people in the United States have AFib and as more people age the numbers are expected to increase. The risk for developing AFib increases with age and affects more women than men. In the United States more than 750,000 people are hospitalized every year because of AFib and AFib is responsible for 130,000 deaths each year.
Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
The main treatment for AFib is by anticoagulant drugs like warfarin (Coumadin) to prevent the formation of blood clots that can find their way to the brain and cause a stroke. Also, medications to control the heartbeat may also be prescribed.
Risk Factors for Developing AFib
These are the main risk factors for developing AFib according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI):
- Obesity is a major risk factor for developing AFib.
- High blood pressure accounts for 14%-22% of AFib cases
- European ancestry
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Heart inflammation
- Heart tissue that is too stiff or too thick
- Ischemic heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Venous thromboembolism
- Lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Congenital heart defect
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Heavy alcohol use
Symptoms of AFib
Some people do not know they have AFib as they do not have any obvious symptoms such as:
- An Irregular heartbeat
- Heart palpitations (rapid, fluttering, or pounding)
- Feeling Lightheaded
- Extreme fatigue
- Feeling Short of breath
- Chest pain
The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York
If you or your loved one are post-stroke and in need of rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York offers excellent care at the hands of a warm and caring staff.
By losing only 10% of body weight, the risk for a stroke from atrial fibrillation can be reversed and the progression of this disease can be stopped.