The heat can take a toll on your body and play a role in triggering episodes of AFib during the summer. If you or a loved one have atrial fibrillation it's important to know the risks of hot weather.
Remember these tips to help protect your heart this summer:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Dehydration has been frequently noted as a trigger for atrial fibrillation (AFib). It is commonly associated with vacationers, who tend to stray from their regular eating patterns and schedule. When travelling, always remember to drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Not only can caffeine and alcohol trigger an episode of AFib, they also contribute to dehydration. Both caffeine and alcohol are considered diuretics that cause you to urinate more, which increases your risk of dehydration during hot summer days. Alcohol can also dilate blood vessels and lower your blood pressure, while caffeine speeds up your heart rhythm; both issues can contribute to an episode of atrial fibrillation.
Avoid Exercising or Outdoor Activities in Extreme Heat
Exercise alone can be a main trigger for AFib, but mix in hot weather and your chances of another episode increase. It's best to avoid exercising in the extreme heat. Rather, stick to a cool indoor area to exercise.
Grab a Partner
If you have AFib or another type of heart arrhythmia, it's recommended you don't go it alone in the heat. Stick with somebody or have someone check in on you often. If you or your buddy experience heat exhaustion, be sure you know what to do: Get out of the heat and into a cool area, remove any unnecessary clothing, drink plenty of fluids and if not better within 30 minutes, call your doctor or 911.
Wear Light Clothing
Light-colored and loose-fitting clothes are your best choice to keep cool in hot weather. Natural fabrics such as cotton are also best to wear as opposed to synthetic fibers. Light, loose-fitting clothing is less likely to trap heat in your body and can help reduce your chance of heat exhaustion.
Check the Weather
Keep your eyes on the weather forecast and heed any heat warnings. Remember, warnings were created for a reason -- to protect us! Excessive heat is dangerous for everyone, but especially those with a heart condition like afib.
Learn more about Doylestown Health's AFib Center
About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services
Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.