Atrial Fibrillation

 

Overview

A heart condition which causes irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, atrial fibrillation affects about 10% of people aged over 75.

To put it into context, a normal heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you’re resting, but in atrial fibrillation, the heart rate may be as much – if not over – 140 beats per minute.

Depending on the degree to which it affects the sufferer, atrial fibrillation may be described in the following ways:

  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation – this form of the illness comes and goes and usually stops within 48 hours without any treatment.
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation – this lasts for longer than seven days (or less when it is treated).
  • Longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation – this usually lasts for longer than 12 months.
  • Permanent atrial fibrillation – this is present all the time and there are no more attempts to restore normal heart rhythm.

When the heart beats normally, its muscular walls contract (tighten and squeeze) to force blood out and around the body. They then relax and the heart fills with blood again – a process which is repeated every time the heart beats.

In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, contract randomly and sometimes at such a speed that the heart muscle cannot relax properly between contractions. This reduces the heart’s efficiency and performance, which in turn can lead to a number of problems, including shortness of breath. You may also be aware of a fast and irregular heartbeat (palpitations) and feel very tired.

Symptoms

The most obvious symptom of atrial fibrillation is a fast and irregular heartbeat, usually over 140 beats a minute. If you’re suffering from the condition you can determine your heart rate by feeling the pulse in your wrist or neck.

You may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Breathlessness

The way the heart beats in atrial fibrillation reduces the heart’s efficiency and performance, which can result in low blood pressure and heart failure.

Causes

The exact cause of atrial fibrillation is unknown, but it becomes more common with age and affects certain groups of people more than others.

The condition is most common in people with other heart conditions, including the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Altherosclerosis
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Pericarditis

It can also be associated with other medical conditions, such as:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

However, not everyone with atrial fibrillation falls into one of the above groups. For example, it can affect extremely athletic people.

Certain situations can trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation, including drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, being overweight, smoking, taking illegal drugs, and drinking lots of caffeine.

Natural Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Diet

A heart-healthy diet can help reduce your atrial fibrillation risk factors; changes are easier than you may think and can have countless benefits.

An article from everydayhealth.com, states too much salt contributes to high blood pressure, which can make your symptoms harder to control. The article suggests limiting your salt intake to less than 2,400 milligrams a day. Be prepared to read food labels, and where possible cook your own meals from scratch so you know what’s in your food.

The piece also states that the unsaturated fats in fish can reduce your risk for heart disease, too, as well as protect your heart against abnormal heartbeats.

Limit the amount of dairy you eat too, as the saturated fats in animal-based foods like butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream and fatty meats will be no good for your health.

Make sure you’re counting cholesterol, and try to fill up on fruits and vegetables for a healthy heart.

It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following:

  • Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
  • Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
  • Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid all fast food restaurants.
  • Avoid all canned food
  • Eliminate conventional dairy products.  The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows.  If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
  • Avoid conventional beef.

 

Aromatherapy

Essential oils that may be used for heart palpitations or heart failure include the following:

Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora).
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis).
Melissa (Melissa officinalis).
Neroli (Citrus aurantium).
Peppermint (Mentha piperata).
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata).

Essential oils of elemi and frankincense are good for neutralizing stress, an important factor in cardiovascular disease.

You may try any of the following to use:

Inhale the vapors from these oils as they rise from a bowl of water
Mix essential oils in a base oil and use in massage
Wear them as a perfume
Mix essential oils with the bath water.

Cautions: If you have a heart condition, consult an experienced practitioner. Do not use marjoram oil during pregnancy.

Use 4 drops of essential oil per 25ml of carrier oil.

To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.

Homeopathic Medicine

Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription.

Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:

According to onlymyhealth.com, homoeopathic medicines can control and prevent various causes of heart attack like increased cholesterol and high blood pressure. It has no role in the management of a patient with acute heart attack.

Treatment of high cholesterol can control atherosclerosis which causes blockade of the arteries of the heart and heart attack, but the following remedies may help:

  • Sumbul, Strophanthus, Strontium Carb are effective for lowering of blood cholesterol. A few homeopathic remedies are known to decrease the cholesterol deposit from heart vessels. These include Crataegus oxyacantha, Aurum Metallicum, Baryta Carbonicum, Calcarea Carbonicum
  • Along with the homeopathic remedies diet modification and control, and physical exercise should be also done. Any change in the remedy is usually done after test of blood cholesterol. The remedy is usually reduced gradually depending on the response to treatment. The medicine is usually selected based on the symptoms and is individualized.

Caution with homeopathic remedies

If you on regular homeopathic treatment for high blood pressure, or high cholesterol you will need regular follow up with your homeopath physician. If you are taking allopathic medicines along with homeopathic treatment inform both your doctors about it. Do not discontinue or adjust allopathic medications without consulting your physician. Treatment of acute heart attack with homeopathic medicines is not recommended. You will need treatment with allopathic medicines if you have a heart attack.

Homeopathic medicines in patients with heart disease offer potential curative solutions, with rare or no side effects, no potential for addiction, and seldom negative drug interactions. These remedies benefit your entire system and move you into a higher state of wellness and often reduce the need for allopathic medications.