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P1215 Women and Heart Disease

Following are some tips to live safely with atrial fibrillation: 77 Know what triggers an episode. Some common triggers include alcohol, caffeine, extreme physical exertion, upper respiratory infections and stress. 77 Take precautions when on blood-thinning medications. Preventing blood clots that can form in the heart and travel to the brain is an important part of treatment. Always check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before stopping, adding or changing any medications. 77 Be smart about over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines. Some over-the-counter medications contain stimulants that can speed up your heart and trigger an atrial fibrillation attack. They may also interfere with atrial fibrillation medications you’re taking to control your heart rate or rhythm. Always check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medication. 77 Limit alcohol, caffeine, salt and nicotine. Try to limit or avoid alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day can increase the risk of Afib. Salt does not trigger Afib, but it does contribute to high blood pressure. Nicotine is a heart stimulant that can trigger Afib and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. 77 Get regular exercise. Exercise strengthens your heart. It cuts down on fatigue by increasing your energy and helping you sleep better at night. Exercise can also help you lose weight, and being at a healthy weight is an important part of managing atrial fibrillation. Talk to your healthcare provider about what level of activity is safe for you. Most experts recommend exercising 30 to 60 minutes five or six times each week. 77 Find ways to lower stress. To handle stress, first identify what triggers it and then adopt a coping strategy. Try saying no when pressured to take on more than you can handle comfortably. Practice positive self-talk, physical exercise and deep breathing. Make time to do the things you enjoy. 77 Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about Afib, and take an active role in managing your condition. 77Work with your healthcare provider. Afib treatment isn’t the same for everyone. It’s also important to know that even your own individualized Afib treatment plan may change over time as your needs change. Always let your healthcare provider know about all your symptoms to make sure you’re getting the treatment that’s best for you. Keep your medical appointments, get necessary blood tests and take all your medications. Also, when you see any of your other healthcare providers, take a list of all your meds with you. abcardio.org 15


P1215 Women and Heart Disease
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