Creating an Environment for Heart-Healthy Living

Creating an Environment for Heart-Healthy Living

Many issues related to AFib may be outside of your control, but there are some ways you can reduce your risks that may even reduce your experience of AFib symptoms. A person’s environment can either increase or decrease your likelihood for making consistently healthy choices. The good news is that by being intentional and creating room in your life for healthy habit development, you can help set yourself up for not only making overall healthy choices, but also for managing your AFib well.

Key Opportunities for a Healthy Home Environment

Go Smoke-Free at Home

Can cigarettes be a trigger for AFib?: Cigarettes are a stimulant that has been linked to increased atrial fibrillation. If you have been diagnosed with AFib, it is critically important that you stop smoking. The list of reasons to quit smoking is very long but avoiding atrial fibrillation is a very important reason for anyone interested in AFib wellness. People who regularly smoke are about 50% more likely than nonsmokers to develop atrial fibrillation. Additionally, treatment options become much more limited for people who smoke.

AFib, Smoking, and Stroke Risks: Smoking can double your risk for stroke. Smoking cigarettes also raises your blood pressure, which is a risk factor related to both atrial fibrillation and stroke. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn more about the best smoking-cessation plan for you. Learn more about how "quitters win!"

Create a Restful Bedtime Routine

Getting a good night’s sleep is not just a “nice idea.” It’s important for your cardiovascular health and some sleep problems, like sleep apnea, are directly correlated with atrial fibrillation. Even if you are not one who suffers from sleep apnea, giving your body a chance to rest will help your overall heart health and your symptoms and experience with atrial fibrillation.

Quality sleep helps stabilize our mood and reduces our experience of stress while psychological distress, like anxiety and depression, has been linked to an increase of symptom severity and more frequently recurring episodes of AFib. But don’t let those facts keep you up at night worrying! Instead, practice habits for heart-healthy sleeping.

Create a Plan for Medication Success

Keeping your medications filled and taking them at the same time every day will give you better and more consistent results with AFib management. Many people successfully add a medication routine to their lives by making a certain time and place for it in their home and schedule. Provided your medication instructions do not require that you store them in their original packaging, keeping a pill-a-day box can help, as well as setting a special alarm to help you remember to take it at the same time each day. Some people pair their medication with something they do every day, like brushing their teeth. When you pick up a new prescription, set reminders two or three days beforehand so you don’t forget to pick up your refills. Find what works for you and set up your environment for success.

If you are taking warfarin and self-monitoring your blood coagulation time (or INR) at home, look at what you can do to create a convenient space for testing and recording your results. Setting up organized systems is easy for some people and others may appreciate guidance. Find an appropriately-sized container where you can store all supplies and any tracking tools you may be using. Additionally, you may find it helpful to keep a notebook handy to write down any discoveries or questions that come up. Store it in a handy location so that you can access it as often as directed, and make a system to remind yourself when it’s time to remeasure, call in your results to the monitoring company, or touch base with your doctor’s office.

Communicate Your AFib Management Routine

Some people are more reluctant than others to share their progress, invite friends and family to accompany them to doctor appointments, and allow people who care about them to help. Regardless of your personal style, it may be a good idea to let someone know where you keep your medications, what pharmacy fills your prescription, and what you’re doing to manage your health.

If you’re having surgery or procedures, the time you’ve spent to make an organized system of care, medication-taking, and note-keeping can help you feel better about asking for some help when you may need it most.

There are many more ways to help you set up your environment for success. Join us in the community forum to continue discussing this with peers who are also working to build their healthiest lives.

Recent Discussions From The At Home Forum
Pegster1338 avatar

I am scheduled for a cryoablation on Nov 30.  I asked the doctor a million questions plus I have read a lot here.  I forgot to ask one question though.  How long does it take to perform the ablation?  Would you happen to know a normal length of time?  Not that it matters.  I just wondered.

depotdoug avatar

Good evening my fellow AFIB friends, everyone trying to stay NSR and healthy cardiac lifestyles.  

My AICD/pacemaker interrogation last Tuesday showed My RA(right atria) pacing lead 7.7yr old is noisy may be fractured. May probably need extraction and new one fed shoved back in. Anyone have any experience in having an ICD Pacemaker lead removed replaced?? 

I’ve got << 4 months left Battery,@ 3months it’s replacement device time. Merry Christmas 🎁 for me....

depotdoug.  Doug 

Duchess avatar

Hi I'm new to posting hope I'm doing this right. I am 72 years old and I've had proximal afib for a year-and-a-half. I'm on eloquest Metropol and flecainide I'm thinking about an ablation in January. But reading some of the blogs has got me concerned. It almost sounds like I'm better off not doing it. Before I came down with Afib I was an absolutely top shape as I have been all of my life my resting heart rate was between 55 and 60 my daytime heart rate was between 65 and 75 had a hard time getting my heart rate up past 125 when I was running. I've been active and athletic all of my life. Since coming down with A-fib even when I'm not in afib I have extreme fatigue not being able to do many things climbing the deck of stairs my heart rate goes up I'm out of breath when I get to the top of the stairs. Even though I am not in AFib. My day time heart rate is between 70 and 125 it's Spikes all day long up and down up and down. My heart rate now drops at least once  night down to 38. After reading the blogs about chest pain And reoccurrences of AFib I wonder if it's the right thing to do. I had an MRI done 2 weeks ago and a special test that revealed 24% arterial fibrosis. I'm wondering if just living with this is the right way to go  any feedback would be appreciated

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