Arrhythmias have many causes. Chronic conditions may gradually damage the heart's structure or electrical system over a period of years while a
, may cause sudden, urgent rhythm disturbances. Prevention of arrhythmias is mostly a matter of keeping your heart healthy and preventing recurrent rhythm disturbances. Many risk factors can be managed or changed. The more risk factors you control, the more you reduce your risk.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Arrhythmias
There are a few measures that specifically influence your risk of arrhythmias.
Stress may raise your risk of arrhythmias if you have predisposing factors. Stress or anxiety can quickly increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Chronic stress can compound these problems. If you cannot eliminate stress from your life, you can take steps to manage it. You may want to try some of the following techniques:
- Stress management classes
- Relaxation techniques
- Regular exercise
Beware of Medications That May Cause Arrhythmias
Ask your doctor or pharmacist what effect your medications will have on your heart rhythm. If you are predisposed to arrhythmias, ask about substitutes for the medications that can precipitate an abnormal rhythm. Be particularly wary of:
- Diet pills
- Certain heart medications
- Thyroid replacement
- Prescription opioids for pain relief
Avoid Illegal Drugs
Avoid illegal drugs, especially cocaine, methedrine, and other amphetamines. These drugs increase your heart rate, which can lead to heart damage and arrhythmias.