Stress and Atrial Fibrillation

Stress and Atrial Fibrillation

Currently, there is no known medical cure for atrial fibrillation. Instead, medical professionals focus on symptom relief and preventing AFib complications such as stroke using medical therapies and/or surgical procedures. Stress can cause atrial fibrillation to be more troublesome to sufferers. Therefore, it is recommended that you find natural ways to effectively manage your stress. Before starting any stress reduction program, get the advice of your doctor. There are many ways a patient can promote stress reduction such as through yoga or mediation, regular exercise, and patient or family support groups.

One natural way to reduce stress for AFib patients may be the regular practice of yoga, which had a small study published in 2016.A nurse and PhD candidate at Sophiahemmet University and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, MariaWahlström, did a study in 2016 of yoga’s effects on patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Wahlström was curious to find out if these alternative health therapies actually help AFib patients. Thus, the launch of the study.

Wahlström conducted the study using 80 patients with paroxysmal AFib, Patients performed yoga for one hour once a week for 12 weeks.The yoga program included light movements, deep breathing, and meditation.Participants of the control group did not do yoga.

Both mental and physical quality of life, heart rate and blood pressure were measured in all program participants at the beginning and at the study’s completion. To measure these criteria, Wahlström used two validating questionnaires; the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

After recording these criteria, at random, Wahlström placed patients into two groups. The control group received standard paroxysmal atrial fibrillation medical treatment.Standard medical treatment consists of medication, cardioversion, and catheter ablation as appropriate.

The second group also received standard medical paroxysmal atrial fibrillationtreatment but added the yoga regimen as described earlier. Once weekly for 12 weeks, the patients who incorporated yoga, deep breathing, light movements, and meditation enjoyed stress reduction benefits.

At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga gained higher SF-36 mental health scores, lower heart rate, and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than the control group. In fact, there was no change in mental and physical qualify of life, heart rate or blood pressure in the control group.

Could yoga naturally reduce your stress?After discussing whether or not yoga might be right for you with your medical care provider, it might be something to do to naturally reduce your stress.

Looking for an easy-to-talk-to heart specialist in Houston, TX? Make an appointment with me, Dr. Morales by calling281.446.3645. I do understand how frightening having AFib is. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have to educate your family about this disease.

You might have burning questions about atrial fibrillation. Get answers online.Join my Facebook page. Ask me any general question about AFib on my AFib Friday’s feature.

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