TV or yoga? Sugar-coated or whole-grain cereal? It’s these small habits that add up for everyone, and the positive outcomes especially benefit people living with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).
If you or a loved one has AFib, you’ve likely learned the basics and you know what to do to manage the condition: reduce stress, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, enjoy some light to moderate exercise, abstain from smoking, reduce sodium intake if high blood pressure is an issue, and enjoy a balanced diet. Lifestyle changes such as these, along with patient and caregiver education, are the first steps to managing the condition.
But what else do both you and your loved one need to know about living with AFib? Gerryann Currier, BS, RN, OCN, a Landmark Nurse Care Manager in Albany, NY reveals the 6 key insights she shares with her patients living with AFib (#6 makes the Landmark difference)!
Know what AFib is.
Did you know that AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat? It occurs when one or both of the upper chambers of the heart (called the Atria) do not beat the way they should. This can cause blood to stay in the left atrium, potentially resulting in a blood clot. If that clot breaks away, it can travel to the brain and cause a type of stroke, depriving your brain of the oxygen and nutrients it is used to getting.
Know which symptoms to watch for and manage them closely to prevent complications.
If you notice these symptoms in your loved one, or are experiencing them yourself, call your Landmark team right away:
- Palpitations (sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, flip-flopping beat in your heart)
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Know how and when to take AFib medications.
Ensure your loved one takes all medications as prescribed and directed, and never change medications or skip doses.
Help your loved one be in tune with the right amount of movement for his or her body.
Encourage your loved one to try something light, like hatha yoga or a stroll around the block. A healthy goal to strive for is 30 minutes a day, 3 times per week. Be sure they listen to their body, always encourage them to slow down and rest as needed.
Know the importance of keeping your healthcare team involved, even when your loved one feels healthy.
Keep all follow-up appointments with your Cardiologist and Landmark provider, even if your loved one is feeling healthy. Continued monitoring is very important to their health.
Know when to call Landmark.
Landmark brings care to patients wherever they reside, whenever they need it. If you or your loved one is a Landmark patient and experiencing symptoms that do not resolve quickly or are worse than their baseline, call your Landmark team. If you sense any problems with their medication, even if you think it’s not a big deal, call Landmark. If you have any questions or concerns about their health, call Landmark. No problem is too big or too small for the Landmark team! Landmark is here for you.