Different Stuff Can Be Behind Your Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Arrhythmia Birmingham ALIt’s easy to assume if we have something like an arrhythmia that’s it’s a defect of some sort within our heart or our nervous system. Most people assume it’s a homegrown problem. Truth be told, it could all be due to something you’re eating, drinking, or taking.

Since Dr. Smith is all about keeping your heart in rhythm, here are some of those substances that may be affecting your heart.

Caffeine and other foods or drinks

As you would assume, caffeine is the most common substance linked to abnormal heart rhythms. Some people’s rhythm changes or they have heart palpitations when they drink coffee, tea, or even eat chocolate (that’s a crime!). For others, it’s red wine or simply eating too much at one time. Fortunately, in these cases, the rhythm problems are usually temporary and rarely serious.

Alcohol

There are various studies that show one drink of alcohol per day may actually lower your risk of heart problems and it can increase your “good” cholesterol. But for those unfortunate few, any alcohol can cause heart disturbances. Now if you go overboard with alcohol, that’s a major risk factor for cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscle), heart failure, and stroke.

Substance abuse

While most people don’t think about this angle of substance abuse, whether it involves legal or illegal drugs, this can lead to dangerous arrhythmias.

Dietary supplements

Since our esteemed Congressmen and women have shielded the “natural products” industry from FDA oversight, there are some interesting substances that can be found in the natural supplements people take. While some herbal products may improve abnormal heart rhythms, others make them worse. Even beyond that, they can interfere with the function of your normal heart medication. Diet pills and weight loss natural supplements can be especially dicey for the heart. For any of this stuff, please ask Dr. Smith or your primary care provider before going out and buying a bottle.

Tobacco

Cigarettes cause more heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, and heart-related deaths than all illegal drugs combined. Smoking contributes to as much as one-third of all heart disease.

That’s just a few items that you may not have thought of as causing arrhythmias and other heart rhythm issues. But now you know. If you are prone to arrhythmias, it’s always a good idea to talk with Dr. Smith before adding certain supplements or natural products to your daily intake. If you have concerns about your heart, contact us at (205) 510-5000 to make an appointment with Dr. Smith.

Posted in: Arrhythmia

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Macy C. Smith, Jr., MD, FACC, FHRS