Want to know about an Arrythmia? Invite Health Podcast, Episode 618
Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode.
WANT TO KNOW ABOUT AN ARRYTHMIA? INVITE HEALTH PODCAST, EPISODE 618
Hosted by Amanda Williams, MD, MPH.
InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: [00:00:04] Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed health care professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that Invite Health has to offer, at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code podcast at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started.† [00:00:34]
Amanda Williams MD, MPH: [00:00:40] You, like most people in the world, have probably experienced a time where you said, wow, did my heart just skip a beat? Maybe you were startled, maybe you weren’t doing anything. You were just sitting around relaxing and you notice your heart rhythm felt off. So I want to talk about arrhythmias today. What is an arrhythmia? When should we be alarmed? How common are they? And what you can be doing in terms of diet, exercise and supplements to help support your cardiovascular system? I am Dr. Amanda Williams, scientific Director at Invite Health, and when it comes to cardiac arrhythmias, this is something that’s quite common. When we look at the statistics on arrhythmias, it’s estimated that upwards of 5% of the population can experience an arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation is going to be the most common of those arrhythmias, and we’ll get into that in just a moment. But what is an arrhythmia? Basically any type of an irregularity that occurs within the heart. So the heart runs on its own electrical conduction system, which is heavily reliant on different electrolytes including things like magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. So when we have any influx to either way, it’s maybe too much magnesium, too much potassium. These are areas where we can create these arrhythmias, or if we’re not getting enough magnesium or enough potassium, and this is usually the case for most arrhythmias. It comes down to having inadequate exposure to these key electrolytes, magnesium and potassium being the two key players in this situation. So we can look at whether it’s an arrhythmia that’s slowing up the heart rate or if it’s something that’s speeding up the heart rate. And we know that there’s many different risk factors that can lead to an arrhythmia. We can look at heart failure, coronary artery disease, clearly high blood pressure.† [00:02:41]
[00:02:42] Thyroid is a big common denominator when it comes to irregular heart rhythm. So if you have thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, stress can do this. This is generally when people can feel an abnormality within their heart rhythm. And when you think about some of the symptoms of an arrhythmia, many people don’t even recognize that they have a irregular heart rhythm that’s occurring but those who do experience symptoms may experience that racing or pounding heart. Maybe you feel short of breath, maybe dizzy or lightheaded. Maybe you’re feeling a little sweaty or clammy or anxious. So these are common symptoms that you need to be attuned to. We know that there are many different lifestyle modifications that can help us when it comes to management of this and since atrial fibrillation is the most common of all arrhythmias out there. This is something that we should pay attention to, what can we do in terms of lifestyle modifications that can help us get over this common problem? And I’ll continue to go back and say it’s a common problem, because when you have 5% of the population that is acutely aware of the fact that they have an arrhythmia, we know that number to be even higher because not everybody is going in every time their heart goes out of rhythm. And seeking out medical attention, because oftentimes that’s not warranted. But in any case, we know that we can choose healthier lifestyle, incorporate in high omega three fatty acids into our diet. We can certainly look at supplementation of Omega three fatty acids. We have been able to see how higher levels of Omega three fatty acids in the blood are directly associated with a lower risk of arrhythmia.† [00:04:27]
[00:04:27] So you see all of these folks who, you know, 60, 70 years old and they’re told oh, you have atrial fibrillation, then they’re put on, what a very strong blood thinner, because the doctors are concerned that potentially that irregular heart rhythm is going to create a situation where the viscosity or the thickness of the blood can shift to the point where you can have a stroke or a heart attack. So what should we be looking at first? Well, we should be looking at our diet, you know, what can we do? What are we not getting enough of? And this is where your omega three fatty acids can really offer significant cardioprotective benefits for you. We can look at magnesium. This is essential when it comes to proper heart function and understanding that 50% of Americans are getting inadequate exposure to magnesium in their diet, so supplementation with magnesium daily is oftentimes incredibly warranted. We can look at coenzyme Q10 that very powerful antioxidant that not only helps to fight off oxidative stress, but can also be very beneficial when it comes to energy production of the cardiac muscles. So if we are taking Coenzyme Q10, we can see those therapeutic benefits that go along with that. So if we have an arrhythmia or an abnormal heart rate or rhythm, we know that this is going to create this disruption within the electrical conduction system, within the cardiac tissue itself, and the synchronization of a normal heart rhythm can be thrown off. So you’ve got two different categories of arrhythmias, you have tachycardia, which means that the heart is beating too fast and then you have bradycardia which means that the heart is beating too slow and then we have fibrillation. Fibrillation is when the heart beat itself is irregular and this is important because we have to understand, you know, are we dealing with a misfiring, one could say of the heart and the nodes within the heart, that electrical conduction system and how is this occurring and how can we prevent it from worsening or occurring in the first place so we can look at things such as ventricular fibrillation. This is when the lower chambers, known as the ventricles are creating this problem. We can look at atrial fibrillation, that’s when the upper chamber, so if you think of your heart as being a house, you have upstairs two rooms and downstairs you have two rooms, so if the upstairs part of your house is not clean and tidy, then this is where we can end up with Atrial fibrillation, this is the most common type of arrhythmia. Generally speaking, not life threatening, but can lead to this increased risk of a stroke, which of course can be incredibly disabling and debilitating. The ventricular fibrillation, on the other hand, this is, certainly problematic because this is going to disrupt the actual blood supply to the rest of the body. So you’re dealing with the ventricle, kind of going into this quivering state, and so the pumping mechanism really gets disrupted. So when we look at conventional treatments for arrhythmias, we’re usually looking at you know, different synchronization procedures through the electrical conduction system of the heart, kind of like recalibrating the heart, one can say.† [00:07:52]
[00:07:53] But we know that the nutritional and the lifestyle modifications really can make the biggest difference and the biggest impact on this, including that magnesium, the omega three fatty acids and coenzyme Q10. So understanding how it is that the heart works through these different electrical impulses through the SA node, which is known as the sinus atrial node, and then the AV node, which is the atrial ventricle node. So this is where we always have to zero in and try to get that heart rhythm to be sending those proper impulses at the right time, this is all highly dependent on the levels of electrolytes. So if we are doing something that is not creating enough electrolyte balance in the body, so say if you have excessive sweating, so you go and you exercise, you sweat too much. This for many folks can create a situation where the heart rhythm can be off if we don’t get enough magnesium in our diet. If we’re not getting enough omega three fatty acids in the diet, this can create this imbalance of those impulses. So we definitely don’t want this to occur. This is why I said lifestyle modifications are really key to the regulation of arrhythmias. So you’ve got, you know, the different premature beats that can occur, so having an extra beat for example, we know that there are super ventricular arrhythmias. And this is when you’re getting kind of an overstimulation, kind of an increased rapid firing out of those nodes in the heart, and this is always room for concern. So having, you know, any type of symptom, oftentimes people will describe, you know, I felt like my heart skipped a beat or feeling like they have palpitations. This is a clear indication that we need to look at fluid balance in the body. We need to look at electrolyte balance in the body, and we need to look at our stress levels. What can we do to minimize stress, get our parasympathetic nervous system to come into check so we’re not on a sympathetic overdrive and then we want to, you know, follow those rules of being on an anti-inflammatory diet, incorporating in a good potent Omega three supplement every day.† [00:10:11]
[00:10:11] So fish oil would be an excellent option, taking in magnesium every day knowing that so many Americans are getting insufficient or inadequate intake of magnesium each day. And then of course protecting the heart from oxidative damage with the use of coenzyme Q10, the ubiquinol form, which is also going to help power up those heart muscle cells. So we’re getting proper contractility out of the heart. So these are all things that we want to be considerate of. If you feel as though you’ve had, you know ,an arrhythmia, you feel like your heart is not beating properly, obviously you want to seek immediate medical attention, but you want to have an EKG done so that they can look at that electrical conduction system. How is the heart firing? Where are we missing that signal pathway? And then this can give you a good indication as to where you can make those changes when it comes to diet, exercise as well as via supplementation. We know that there are a lot of prescribed medications that people can be put on, that can help with the heart rhythm itself, but of course, they come with. You know, at times very serious side effects, so if we can do what we can in terms of lifestyle modifications, stress management, getting the right foods in our diet, taking the right supplements. This can certainly be one step closer to a much more normal heart rhythm itself. So I just wanted to share a little bit about arrhythmias with you today.† [00:11:39]
[00:11:40] Understanding that the frequency of cardiac rhythm abnormalities affect many folks, sometimes it is a chronic condition, sometimes it is an acute condition, meaning it’s happening in the short term and then it resolves itself. But in any case, we don’t want to ignore this because we do know that there can be incredibly detrimental effects to our health if we do ignore that. So always be wise, follow up with your physician. If you have had any cardiac abnormalities when it comes to the rhythm of the heart and of course, make sure you’re doing the right things in terms of diet, exercise and your supplements and I want to thank you so much for tuning in to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast. Remember you can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting invitehealth.com/podcast. Do make sure that you subscribe and you leave us a review. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at Invite Health and we will see you next time for another episode of the InViteⓇ Health Podcast.† [00:11:40][0.0]