Living Healthier Can Help Shield You From A-fib

WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From weight loss to physical activity, lifestyle changes are effective, yet underused strategies to manage atrial fibrillation, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Atrial fibrillation — also known as a-fib or AF — is an abnormal heart rhythm affecting more than 2.7 million Americans.

In a-fib, the heart‘s upper chambers beat erratically, which can lead to blood clots. If clots break off, they can cause a stroke. A-fib increases stroke risk fivefold.

“While established medical treatment protocols remain essential, helping AF patients adopt healthier lifestyle habits whenever possible may further help to reduce episodes of AF,” said Dr. Mina Chung, who led the team that wrote the new scientific statement. She’s a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Lifestyle changes that can help fight a-fib include maintaining a healthy weight, being active and not smoking.

But there are caveats, according to the statement. Extreme physical activity can raise the risk of a-fib, so workouts of professional-level intensity are not advised.

“To help patients make healthy lifestyle changes, we suggest setting specific, progressive