Did You Know Your Irregular Heartbeat Causes Brain Damage?

I don’t write much about atrial fibrillation or causes of irregular heartbeat, but I have a pretty strong understanding of how to fix it.

Why?  Because I wrote a book on migraines and seizures (which, incidentally, can be found by clicking here).  “What does that have to do with anything?” you ask.

Well, because the cells of the brain function very much like the cells that regulate your heartbeat.  They are heavily dependent on high levels of energy (in the form of ATP) to NOT fire.  Basically, a charge has to build up and build up until it is time for that cell to fire, whether it is to fire off a brain cell or the heart muscles.

Just like improving chronic migraine headaches or improving seizures in epilepsy, the key is to stop doing things to damage your mitochondria (the part of the cell that makes the needed ATP) and start doing things to improve the way your mitochondria function.  While that is beyond the scope of this blog post (other than mentioning that stress and too many low quality calories are major contributor), you can read about improving mitochondrial function in a previous blog article by clicking here.

The rates of Afib are increasing in direct proportion to how sick our population is.  Many times the condition is just watched, but in more problematic situations, beta blockers may be used (which will increase the risk of diabetes and stroke) or anticoagulants like warfarin or coumidin or a cardiologist may thread a wire up into your heart and burn out the cells that he or she believes are causing the problem (called ablation for afib).

All of this brings us to this particular study.  In it, researchers looked at what happens to the cognitive abilities of those over age 75 who developed atrial fibrillation.  Overall, it was clear that, in those who developed atrial fibrillation, there was a faster decline (about 2 years faster) in cognitive function that got worse the longer the Afib was present.

“But I’m not 75, so my Afib is not the same issue,” you say.

Yup.  It’s likely worse because YOUR atrial fibrillation will be present for many more years.  And while your atrial fibrillation may be noticeable, the subtle damage to your brain won’t be for decades to come.

The bottom line is that, if you have ANY degree of Afib, lifestyle changes are needed.  And caffeine avoidance, which may have been mentioned to you, is low on the list.  Stress management, exercise and a high quality / low calorie diet are at the top of the list.

You need to understand that the heart palpitations are only a single symptom of a much greater problem.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.


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