KRON 4 | Chocolate for Your Heart

Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib or AF, is the most common irregular heart rhythm in the United States where 2.7 to 6.1 million Americans are living with this dangerous condition. Here’s AFib explained, the risks, and how this one food affects these abnormal heart beats.

KRON4_Afib2
A normal heart rhythm ejects blood from the heart into the aorta which distributes oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.

What is Atrial Fibrillation? 

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical signals in the upper chambers of the heart.

AFib is on the rise because the older you are, the greater the risk of developing AFib. Finding effective ways to prevent AFib and identify treatments for AFib is a public health priority.

Typically someone one with AFib has to take a blood-thinner to prevent blood clots from forming and reduce stroke risk. Blood thinners can have dangerous side effects, such as severe bleeding, coughing up blood, bruising without an injury, and dizziness.

High Blood Pressure Link

If you have high blood pressure, AFib needs to be on your radar. People with high blood pressure (which usually occurs with advancing age) accounts for 14% to 22% of AFib cases.

Health Effects from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

Atrial fibrillation is dangerous. It is a risk factor for:

  • Stroke — 4 to 5 times higher risk compared with people without AFib. Strokes caused by AFib complications tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes.
  • Heart failure AFib decreases coronary blood flow.
  • Cognitive decline and dementia — One gallon of blood goes through your brain every four minutes. If blood flow is impaired such as from AFib, brain function suffers. Persistent AFib decreases blood flow to the brain.
  • Death
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One gallon of blood goes through the brain every 4 minutes.

AFib Symptoms

Some people don’t have any symptoms, but many experience one or more of the following:

    • Irregular heart beat (feels like your heart is skipping beats)
    • Heart palpitations (racing, fluttering, or pounding)
    • Lightheadedness
    • Extreme fatigue / discomfort
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain / sweating (mimicking a heart attack)

The Chocolate Study   

Continue reading “KRON 4 | Chocolate for Your Heart”

Fit Minute | Is Alcohol Good for YOU?

Pouring red wine_310px_PDThe answer to this question depends on the dose and the person. Because everyone has unique personal and family histories, the risks and benefits of drinking alcohol will be different for each person. But here’s a recent study to consider before sipping that next drink…

  • New study* finds moderate alcohol consumption (defined as drinking 1-3 drinks/day) may increase risk for atrial fibrillation (A-fib or AF).
  • Wine and liquor (but not beer) are correlated with developing AF.
  • Alcohol in small amounts  and not daily may be okay BUT… if you notice AF symptoms when drinking, STOP to potentially stop AF and prevent long-term damage.

AF or A-fib = Most common heart rhythm that increases risk of stroke and heart failure. This rhythm is irregular, chaotic and often rapid which commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. AF may come and go, or it may not go away which may require emergency treatment.

AF symptoms:

  • Lack of energy
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain

*12-year study; 79,019 men/women between ages 45 and 83; free of AF. Published in American College of Cardiology, July 2014.