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
Patio7 avatar

Anybody else have an issue?  I received my second Pfiser shot yesterday morning. First off..I am so grateful and would sign up for a third if needed....however by late afternoon I was in Afib, after having none for over a month..and none that lasted more than a short time for seven months. Well here I am 18 hrs later still in Afib. Also had a night of aches, low grade fever and very sore arm.  All acceptable except the Afib, which has been all over the map high as 177 but feels unlike past episodes.   Was scheduled for an ECG and pacemaker check tooday but think I will be postponed because of Covid  check before entering the building.  Anybody have any thoughts?

Thumper2 avatar

It's March 1, and I have not received any Daily Digest for the last 3 days.  Is there some reason for this?  I have been a participating member for several years. 

Thumper2 (Judy)

depotdoug avatar

Good afternoon AFIB support friends,

Life's next medical challenge awaits Depotdoug this nex Monday @ 1:00PM. I receive a new RA pacing lead inserted down to my right Atria. So, my 9yr 10 mon old St Jude Med Durata pacing lead was identified with noise the past year, with an incresing threshold of chronic noise. Discussion this Monday with my 5th yes 5th EP doctor went through the procedure protocol, sounds easy enough, with the caveat of NOT extracting my 'old' fractured, aging pacing lead. Ok, the terminology they use for that procedure is Debulking. Sounds mechanical. 

But the procedure of extracting(laser) old embedded pacing or defirillating leads can be invasive and cause more damage than leaving lead intact. Ok, my question is? Will my old lead interfere with or get in the way of my new RA lead in any way?

Anybody here ever had a RA pacing lead revision and or extraction?



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