Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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Lifestyle and Heart Rhythm

Friday, 17 Jun 2011 10:11 AM

Unfortunately, when the heart’s electrical system goes haywire, there is no one short cure for the resulting arrhythmia. The key is to keep your heart healthy through lifestyle choices. The body has a remarkable ability to respond to healthy habits, so it is never too late to develop them.

What can you do to reduce the risk of developing heart arrhythmias with age? First of all, be aware of your heart health. If you notice that certain activities seem to upset the rhythm of your heart, then it is best to avoid them.

You also should educate yourself about common substances that can cause arrhythmias. For instance caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol are all known to disrupt the heart’s rhythm. Many people find that their arrhythmia will stop completely if they just avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol.

It’s also important to avoid stress and anxiety. I talk a lot about the effects of stress on the heart because I see it every day in my practice. Stress is a silent destroyer, and learning to manage it is one of the best things you can do for your heart.

Supplements Can Reduce Arrhythmia

Sometimes, a good diet is just not enough to maintain a healthy heart. And if your diet is not so good, then you will need to take a good multivitamin at the very least. Take one every day just to ensure that you are getting the minimum nutrients you need.

Fish oil is the most concentrated source of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosopentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DHA). One study of more than 11,000 people taking omega-3 as a supplement showed a 45 percent reduction in sudden cardiac death. This reduction was seen even in patients already taking aspirin and statins for heart disease.

Fish oil helps stabilize the electrical activity of the heart muscle. The recommended dose is 2 grams per day of a supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. (Consult your doctor if you take a blood thinner, as fish oil may increase its effect.)

Magnesium can also help stabilize the heart’s electrical system. Studies have shown that arrhythmias are more likely to occur when blood levels of magnesium are low. People with congestive heart failure are especially susceptible to arrhythmias when magnesium is low.

A diet high in processed foods is deficient in magnesium. Soft drinks and bottled water are devoid of magnesium. Anyone on diuretics probably will have low magnesium.

Magnesium supplements are safe and inexpensive, though they may cause diarrhea in doses of more than 250 mg. For that reason, it is best to take magnesium in divided doses throughout the day. The total daily dose is 300 to 500 mg.

© HealthDay

   
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