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Atrial Fibrillation - Living With Atrial Fibrillation

Many people are able to live full and active lives with atrial fibrillation. Most people don't have to change their daily activities.

Because atrial fibrillation is often the result of a heart condition, making changes to improve your heart condition will usually improve your overall health.

Make lifestyle changes

  • Don't smoke. If you need help quitting, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods.
  • Try an exercise program. Talk to your doctor about what type and level of exercise is safe for you.
  • Control your weight. For more information, see the topic Weight Management.
  • Control your stress. Treatments like yoga, biofeedback, and meditation may help.
  • Avoid alcohol if it triggers symptoms. Don't use stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines or cocaine.

For more information, see:

Prevent other health problems

  • If needed, take medicines that help lower your risk of heart disease. These include cholesterol and blood pressure medicine.
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicine. Tell your doctor all of the medicines you take. Some prescription and nonprescription medicine can interact with your heart medicines. Some nonprescription medicines, especially cold and herbal remedies, contain stimulants that can trigger atrial fibrillation.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year.
  • Know the signs of sleep apnea. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms such as snoring and feeling sleepy during the day. Many people with atrial fibrillation also have this condition.

Take medicines safely

When you take an anticoagulant (also called a blood thinner), you need to take extra steps to avoid bleeding problems, such as preventing falls and injuries. If you take warfarin, you also get regular blood tests and watch how much vitamin K you eat or drink.

actionset.gif Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
actionset.gif Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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