- Atrial fibrillation (or atrial fibrillation) is a heart rhythm disorder that causes the heart to accelerate and beat irregularly, according to L’Assurance Maladie.
- It affects 1% of the general population, but especially the elderly population (more than 10% of those over 80).
“Atrial fibrillation is a health problem, but it can be treated and controlled.”, according to cardiologist Paul Dorian. And in fact, this arrhythmia, which is the result of a disturbance in the heart’s electrical signals, and which puts you at risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke, can be reduced by controlling blood pressure, diabetes and the speed of cholesterol in the blood. But adopting a few healthy lifestyle habits also helps maintain a good quality of life.
Certain behaviors increase the risk of atrial fibrillation
To remain healthy, it is advisable not to smoke: “Smoking contributes to the build-up of plaque in the arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the oxygen supply in the blood, which causes the heart to work unnecessarily. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke and even die.”, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
It is also important to reduce alcohol consumption. In fact, excessive consumption can raise blood pressure and contribute to the development of heart disease and stroke. “To limit the risk to your health during your lifetime, it is recommended to consume no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 2 standard drinks per day and have days a week without consumption”, indicates Public Health France.
Finally, it is necessary to reduce the stress that is harmful to the health of the heart: sudden and intense stress can increase the short-term risk of heart attack. Chronic stress, which is defined as being exposed to a stressor for an extended period of time (months or even years), can also increase the risk of heart disease.
Physical activity and a healthy diet prevent heart problems
Staying active is especially beneficial for heart health. In fact, maintaining physical activity restores heart muscle health, can help people live longer and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease by up to 50%.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also important: “Theobese people are four times more likely to have diabetes, more than three times more likely to have high blood pressure and more than twice as likely to have heart disease than those of a healthy weight”, reminds the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Measuring waist circumference and calculating body mass index (BMI) makes it possible to assess the health risk associated with obesity. In men we are at risk when the waist circumference exceeds 94 cm, and in women it is 88 cm. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. From 25 there is risk.
Food also has a big influence. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which consists of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and few foods containing saturated fatty acids, is especially recommended as it reduces the risk of heart disease by 10%, according to a study .