Lifestyle changes to help manage or possibl... - AF Association

AF Association
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Lifestyle changes to help manage or possibly cure AF

Found some interesting notes in an aticle about new treatments for AF. Interestingly the presence of Inflamation is said to associated with all AF cases which mirrors my naturopaths comments that inflamation is the cause of the majority of dieseses.

When I had AF she got me in a sensible anti inflammatary diet which aimed to cut down on all processed foods and sugars. And so far so good, I've been AF Free for a while since my Cardioversion.

The article can be found here:


control hypertension

reduce blood sugars below the prediabetic range: hemoglobin A1C less than 5.7

reduce abdominal fat

control inflammation – with an anti-inflammatory diet and supplements

stress reduction

consider low intensity TENS or electrical stimulation to the tragus of the ear: a new study shows that low level TENS stimulation to the forward part of the outer ear suppresses AF in canines.

acupuncture applied to PC-6 (Neiguan), HT-7 (Shenmen) and BL-15 (Xinshu): The effects of acupuncture were evaluated in a 12 mo follow-up period in a study. In patients with persistent AF, the recurrence rate after acupuncture treatment was similar to that observed in patients on amiodarone, but significantly smaller than that measured after sham acupuncture treatment or in the absence of any antiarrhythmic drugs.

Yoga: A study was done looking at the effects of yoga on patients with paroxysmal AF. In patients with paroxysmal AF, yoga improves symptoms, arrhythmia burden, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression scores, and several domains of quality of life.

11 Replies

I am a great believer in lifestyle changes and absolutely agree about inflammation as a cause of disease, especially autoimmune disease. I also think that the NHS should offer more help and support for those who want to use these methods as a first line treatment.

Done all of the above, well apart from reduce fat around the abdomen which although I have lost weight, seems to allude me!

Unfortunately my AF still progressed and only ablation has helped.

I would also add in sleep apnea to your list, recent research has shown how important it is that we get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep and we ignore at our peril. My EP also said that sleep apnea is also the MAIN indicator of AF returning after a successful ablation. I have been referred to a sleep clinic for a study. Interestingly in the last few days I have started to sleep much, much better, egg and chicken come to mind?

Thanks for the links, it makes absolute sense that lifestyle has to contribute to well and ill health.


It's interesting you mention the sleep apnea. When I got AF for the first time I had a few weeks of far too little sleep whilst pushing my body and mind hard during the day.


Sleep apnea is not sleep insomnia, it is the inability to keep a clear airway during sleep. However, not enough sleep would also do it, especially if pushing yourself hard.


Interesting post and link especially with regard to inflammation in the body causing AF. Since my teen years I've suffered with stomach pain. Had loads of investigations but no cause could be found. Then 13 years ago I had a hysterectomy which showed my stomach area was riddled with endometriosis and areas where it had caused infections, my gynaecologist said he almost had to take a hatchet to perform the operation.

I too have changed to a healthier diet, but I can't say I've lost weight or reduced my stomach fat (not that it's that bad anyway). I think it may be because I eat more mixed nuts these days (must try and cut down). Also because my heart has been racing and not beating correctly since the start of September I haven't been able to do my normal physical activities. I haven't eaten biscuits or sweets for several months and now surprisingly don't miss or crave them. That is a miracle for me!

I'm hoping that when I have my next cardioversion, which is soon, I will wake up super fit.

I will try some of your recommendations. Thank you.


This is very interesting. I've thought my AF was caused by excessive caffeine ingestion but it dates back to summer 1990. I was diagnosed late in the day with endometriosis in 1993.

My move to healthy living dates back further. I'm now almost 68 but my children are in their late 20s. When I turned 40 I had a 2 year old and a 6 month old. As an elderly parent, I felt I owed it to them to keep fit and eat well and to preserve my well being as much as possible. I've never been overweight and am currently just a couple of kilos short of my ideal weight.

(Apologies if this sounds smug. I actually feel somewhat short-changed because I look at podgy friends who smoke, drink and eat naughty things yet apparently have fully functioning and reliable hearts even though they huff and puff on a flight of stairs and I have wondered what I did to summon up AF.)


I know what you mean about looking at friends who've eaten naughty things all their lives and who are still well, but unfit. I've exercised and eaten healthy all my life It does seem unfair, but I guess that's the luck of the draw and we somehow managed to get the short straw! I was brought up with a health food conscious father who grew all our veg. My mother discovered she had AF when diagnosed with cancer and died 5 months later aged 60, she'd never been ill in her life before then. My father lived to 88, then he had a stroke and died a month later. Apart from a bout of pneumonia he'd never been ill either. Does this point to AF being more of a modern condition? I hear of so many people now who have it.



Yes I had a few oldies in the family who lived well into their eighties before anything crumbled. My own generation are a bit less robust. But those of us who have toed the line will better cope with what comes our way.


That's a great post! I'm definitely on board with all of that. Once I stopped eating meat and any sort of processed foods, or sugars (except for the rare "treat"), my belly fat disappeared completely. Lost 5 inches from my waist and the belly is flat as a pancake. I feel like a teenager again! I agree with the acupuncture and yoga and add the meditation to help reduce blood pressure which was what caused my AF in the first place. I've never heard about the Tens unit working for AF, but that is fascinating and it makes sense. I wonder if acupressure on the tragus during an AF episode would have an effect? I think exercise is a huge component and with increased activity comes a great feeling of health and well being and without even trying, the weight has gone off and stayed off for me. I was AF free again last month and hope to be able to say the same at the end of November. Good luck with your journey, markgoater. Be well.


Thanks for the post. Do you eat fish?


no, no fish for me.


Very interesting post which I have only just seen. I have PAF, the episodes are only occasional and never last for more than a few hours (I have a Kardia to check) and I don't get on with most of the drugs prescribed so don't take any regularly. I had acupuncture once and felt great afterwards but on the second occasion I came out in pain and distress and the practitioner did not seem to care, so I have not returned! My diet has always been good and I have never been overweight. I did yoga for years and more recently Pilates and tai chi but thinking of returning to yoga, especially if it might help the PAF, and have stopped Pilates as I was concerned it might have been a bit much for my heart though prior to diagnosis ( a year ago) I had enjoyed it (and been pretty good at it too!) I shall certainly take a look at the link. Thank you. Cardioversion has not been mentioned for me. I hope it sorts things out for you.


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