Managing Atrial Fibrillation: Medications, and Lifestyle Changes

Heart diseases are the most common cause of death in the US. One of the most common heart diseases that older people encounter is atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects the heart’s rhythm causing it to beat irregularly and rapidly. It can cause various symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. If left untreated, it can lead to severe complications such as stroke and heart failure. While there is no cure right now, many treatment options for atrial fibrillation can be used to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Learn all atrial fibrillation management options in this article. Get a consultation with the best cardiologists in Brooklyn.

 

 

Afib management

Afib management depends on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause of the disease. Usually, treatment is given by medications, procedures, and lifestyle changes.

 

Medications

Medications are typically the first-line treatment for atrial fibrillation. Medications are used to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. It includes:

  1. Anti-arrhythmic medications:

These medications are used to manage the heart’s rhythm and prevent episodes of atrial fibrillation. These treatments are also called chemical cardioversion. You may get either sodium channel blockers or potassium channel blockers.

Sodium channel blockers can slow your heart’s ability to conduct electricity. It includes:

  • Flecainide
  • Propafenone
  • Quinidine

Potassium channel blockers can slow the electrical signals that cause AFIb. It includes:

  • Amiodarone
  • Dofetilide
  • Sotalol

 

  1. Blood thinning medications:

These medications are used to lower the risk of blood clots and stroke. However, it may increase the risk of bleeding, so you may need to prevent activities that increase the injuries. The most common blood thinners that your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Aspirin
  • Apixaban
  • Heparin
  • Dabigatran
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Warfarin

 

Blood thinners also increase the risk of bruising or bleeding too much. Depending on the type of blood thinner you’re taking, you may need an occasional blood test to ensure the medication is working and you’re taking the right dose.

 

  1. Heart rate medicines:

These medications are used to slow down the heart rate during episodes of atrial fibrillation which keeps your heart healthy. You may need other drugs as well. Some of them are called beta-blockers. They also slow your heart rate. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Atenolol
  • Bisoprolol
  • Carvedilol
  • Metoprolol
  • Propranolol
  • Timolol

Other popular medicines are calcium channel blockers that slow your heart rate and reduce contractions. It includes diltiazem, verapamil, etc.

 

Lifestyle changes

Your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes to keep your heart healthy, including:

  • If you’re overweight, then you need to make lifestyle and diet changes to lower the severity and frequency of atrial fibrillation episodes you have.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol consumption.
  • Stay physically active to strengthen the heart.
  • Manage your cholesterol levels.
  • Manage your stress with stress-relaxation strategies such as yoga, deep breathing, acupuncture, etc.
  • Quit smoking, if you smoke.
  • Follow a heart-healthy diet like the DASH eating plan, which lowers your salt intake and adds fruits, veggies, and whole grains to your diet.

There is no cure for atrial fibrillation, however, medication, procedures, and lifestyle changes can allow you to manage your symptoms properly for a long time. In some cases, AFib may resolve on its own, however, in most cases, it stays persistent and requires ongoing management. So, you need to follow the course of your treatment as prescribed to manage your condition.

 

If you need help with atrial fibrillation, visit our cardiology clinic in Brooklyn to get professional medical help. If you need tips on how to keep your heart healthy, call us on +1(347) 384-5690. The Cardiologists at Doral Health & Wellness consistently have outstanding patient satisfaction ratings. The professionals at Heart Specialist Brooklyn are able to greatly improve their patient’s health and quality of life because of their vast training and experience. New Yorkers can get the greatest medical, surgical, and cardiovascular care at Doral Health & Wellness Brooklyn. Visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212.