Knowing what is cardiac arrhythmia is crucial for every adult person. Why? Because when this situation occurs it might be already late to act preventive.
Stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine contribute a lot to the occurrence of arrhythmia.
What is cardiac arrhythmia, its prevention and treatment – Besides the regular medical treatment and diet, the use of supplements and lifestyle play an important role in the prevention and treatment of this unpleasant situation. (Many scientific studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet has cardio protective effect).
Simply put, cardiac arrhythmias are abnormalities in the rate and rhythm of heartbeats. They appear due to disturbances of the electrical conductivity of the tissue of the heart, which must be perfectly synchronized to maintain a normal heart rhythm.
Arrhythmias can occur in people who suffer from any heart disease (such as coronary artery disease), but even healthy heart may not be immune to the occasional occurrence of abnormal heartbeats.
There are two basic categories of arrhythmia: tachycardia in which the heart beats too fast and bradycardia in which the heart beats too slowly.
Fibrillation is a condition in which the heart beats irregularly or ‘ tremble ‘ and sometimes classified as a subcategory of tachycardia.
Additionally arrhythmias are classified according to the part of the heart that affect either the atria or ventricles. Conventional therapy of arrhythmias relies on the use of medicines and surgical therapy or electrical cardioversion.
In addition to medical therapy, the proper diet and lifestyle also play an important role in the prevention and treatment of this unpleasant situation.
Causes of arrhythmia
Arrhythmias are often associated with conditions or events which affect the structure and function of the heart. Like for example: coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, history of myocardial infarction, infectious myocarditis, cardiomyopathy and/or congenital heart defects.
There are also indirect causes and risk factors that may favor the occurrence of arrhythmias and these factors are usually preventable. For example, electrolyte imbalance and severe dehydration may favor arrhythmias, so it is particularly important to supply the body with fluid and electrolytes in situations where dehydration is present.
People with high blood pressure that is not well regulated can also experience arrhythmia. Obesity is a risk factor for arrhythmia and can lead to problems with the heart in several ways – from elevated blood lipid levels, blood pressure and impaired glucose tolerance.
Diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar have a higher risk of arrhythmias, especially in situations of hypoglycemia. Disorders of thyroid dysfunction can also be a trigger for the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias.
Smoking is another bad habit that needs to be addressed in order to avoid arrhythmias. Stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine also contribute to the occurrence of arrhythmias, as well as stress and use of certain medications.
Oxidative stress and insufficient amount of antioxidants in the body have an adverse effect. In this group at a higher risk are also included and some professional athletes, particularly those of middle age.
The Mediterranean diet protects against arrhythmias
Many scientific studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet has cardio-protective effects. Entities that follow Mediterranean’s people food regime, have a lower risk from this disease including diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and are rarely obese, thus indirectly protected from arrhythmias.
However, there are clear scientific evidence published 2011th of the influence of the Mediterranean diet on many arrhythmias cases. From the 800 tested respondents was indicated that those who used the Mediterranean diet had less frequent episodes of arrhythmia.
The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high proportion of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and whole grain products, with absence of meat, milk and animal fat consumption.
At the same time, a higher intake of fish and red wine should be implied along with meals.
The Mediterranean diet has all the characteristics of a liberal vegetarian diet, rich in omega – 3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, B vitamins and various antioxidants.
At the same time low in saturated fat and rich in total fat. The amount of total fat in this diet ranges near the upper recommended limit or even exceeds the recommended 30 percent.
The joint action of these substances contribute to lowering blood pressure and blood fat, strengthen our body’s defense system, stimulates digestion, soothe inflammation and protect us from malignant disease.
Omega – 3 fatty acids
Well known are the effects of omega – 3 fatty acids in lowering triglycerides in the blood. Also, there is well- documented anti-inflammatory activity of these precious fats that are often neglected in the modern diet.
In general, the additional intake of omega – 3 fatty acids (particularly EPA and DHA derived from fatty fish) has great cardio-protective effect and is recommended for the prevention of adverse cardiovascular events.
Scientific studies have proven that fish oil and concentrated Omega – 3 fatty acids have anti arrhythmic activity, including atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias. Within studies,were very commonly used highly concentrated nutritional supplements that contained approximately 850 mg of EPA + DHA.
Other supplements that may be helpful
Intake of magnesium and potassium is important for people suffering from arrhythmia. Therefore, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains is preferred in this population. Since magnesium is often neglected in the modern diet, it is often necessary to take magnesium supplements, sometimes even potassium.
Additional intake of antioxidants is also desirable in this population, and particularly interesting is the consumption of N – acetyl cysteine. Commonly prescribed is a mixture of vitamins and minerals with antioxidant effect (vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc and copper) and resveratrol and coenzyme Q10.
Among the herbs, most innovative is the prescription of hawthorn extract.
Do not forget the healthy habits
In addition to proper nutrition and supplements intake, the usage of certain lifestyle changes are also recommended. Changes such as:
• Regular moderate exercise
• Maintenance of desirable body weight
• Smoking Cessation
• Decreased intake of alcohol and caffeine
• Avoid stimulants and drugs that can cause arrhythmia