Author: Alireza Nazeri, MD

Catheter Ablation Effective Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation

Catheter ablation is a safe and effective treatment strategy for atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of cardiac ablation procedure worldwide. In this latest article, Dr. Alireza Nazeri explains catheter ablation, how it treats atrial fibrillation while detailing the procedure.

What is catheter ablation?

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition described by an irregular rhythm, which creates faulty electrical signals in the heart. The two upper chambers of the heart (known as the atria) beat irregularly, which send uncoordinated electrical signals to the lower chambers (known as the ventricles.)
Catheter ablation targets these faulty electrical signals using small burns or freezes, which are delivered to the heart to correct the faulty electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation treats atrial fibrillation and helps the heart maintain its normal beating pattern.

 

What is the procedure?

During catheter ablation, your doctor will put thin hollow tubes known as catheters, into the blood vessels that lead to the heart chambers. Most commonly, doctors insert the catheters into the femoral vein, located in your groin. Once the catheters reach your heart, the catheters will burn or freeze a small area inside the heart. Radiofrequency is used to cause these small burns, while cryoablation is the technique, which causes small freezes. Burning or freezing causes scarring of the heart tissue. Scarring the heart prevents the spread of faulty electrical signals. Through this process, catheter ablation is able to treat atrial fibrillation.

The entire procedure can take about two to four hours to finish. Your doctor will conduct the procedure in an electrophysiology laboratory. Moreover, the Anesthetist will help you relax or fall asleep while closely monitoring all your vital signs.

Once the procedure is complete, you may need to remain in bed for two to six hours to prevent bleeding. Most people who undergo this procedure can go home on the same day.

 

Who needs catheter ablation?

The recommendation for Catheter ablation is for people who have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation whose symptoms persist even with medications. Furthermore, it is strongly advisable for people who choose not to take medications to undergo catheter ablation instead.

Catheter ablation is a safe and effective way to control the symptoms of atrial fibrillation, such as palpitations and shortness of breath. Concerning the side effects of the medications, doctors now consider this procedure as a first-line alternative treatment for atrial fibrillation.

 

Who should I consult?

An expert cardiac electrophysiologist, also known as an EP doctor, can conduct catheter ablation and monitor you closely during and after the procedure. The EP doctor will also evaluate your risk for the complications of atrial fibrillation, such as stroke and heart failure. An EP doctor can prescribe medications and interventions to help you prevent these complications. The EP doctor will also provide continuous monitoring of your condition to ensure that you are in optimal health condition. Consult your EP doctor now and receive treatment for atrial fibrillation!

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

Meet Expert Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Dr. Alireza Nazeri

So, If you have symptoms that suggest Afib, have a diagnosis of Afib, or have risk factors for developing Afib, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Alireza Nazeri, a clinical cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Standard office and TeleVisit consultations are available. Visit Dr. Nazeri’s website at www.MobitzHeart.com or call (713) 909-3166.

Living a Sedentary Lifestyle Increases Heart Health Risks

What is the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and heart health risks?

Over the past century, more and more people are living in urban areas, using vehicles for movement, and adopting service and office-based jobs. While these changes are often associated with upward mobility and development, they lead entire societies to be more at risk of sedentary behavior. The American Academy of Dietetics defines sedentary behavior as prolonged periods of sitting or overall inactivity, at it poses numerous risks for human health.

Common sedentary activities include sitting, lying down, watching television, computer use, reading, and sleeping. In general, these seem like pretty mild, safe behaviors. Although, you might want to think again. Even if you ride the subway and spend most of the time sitting in an office chair, you could be exposing yourself to risk. Experts say that sedentarism may be just as risky for your heart and overall health as cigarette smoking.

In this article, Dr. Nazeri describes how prolonged and chronic inactivity can lead to essential risks for your heart health while providing tips for combatting the harmful effects of sedentarism.

 

What Happens to Our Bodies When We Live Sedentary Lives?

We live sedentary lives when we repeatedly have days with limited movement and spend hours sitting or lying down. Therefore impacting several systems of the human body. These include the following:

  1. Body composition: due to a lack of use, there is an increase in muscle wasting (reducing muscle mass.) As a result, muscles lose power and strength.
  2. Metabolic systems: By staying inactive for prolong periods over several days and weeks, your body systems begin to transport oxygen inefficiently, have low energy use, and experience impaired mitochondrial function.
  3. Endocrine (hormonal) systems: Inactivity induces insulin sensitivity and impaired glucose tolerance – a phenomenon that is associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Nervous systems: Inactivity harms communication between nerves and muscles, a phenomenon associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
  5. Cardiovascular systems: Our hearts reduce in volume, and cardiovascular muscles lose strength. Our arteries and veins are more likely to become stiff and have plaque build-up.

 

The Impact of Sedentary Behaviour on Heart Health

Sedentary behavior and physical inactivity are among the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality. In the US, studies suggest the average person has 38 hours of sedentary time each week.

Here’s a list of the impacts of sedentary behavior and physical inactivity on cardiovascular health:

  1. Increases the risk of developing metabolic disorders, which also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease
  2. Increases artery stiffness
  3. Poor blood flow
  4. Impaired oxygen distribution
  5. Increases inflammation and impairs immune systems, which would otherwise remove components that damage cells of the cardiovascular systems
  6. The risk of cardiovascular-related death and lowers life expectancy is increased due to cardiovascular-related events
  7. Increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, and heart attacks

Whether you currently have no known cardiovascular health issues or if your cardiologist has already detected a problem, exercise and physical activity are essential in managing your heart health risks and improving your current health status.

 

How To Combat the Negative Impacts of Sedentarism?

The only sure way to stop and reverse the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle on your health is to get moving. Staying physically active throughout the day, when possible, or planning time to exercise regularly is the only way to recuperate and protect your muscles, nervous systems, endocrine systems, metabolism, and heart health.

The American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, equating to 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week. If you tend to carry out more intense physical activity and exercise, the minimum recommendation is 75 minutes.

A mixture of aerobic and resistance training (which exercises muscular strength) is most beneficial for combating the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Of course, more is better, and you can combine activities that you carry out throughout the day and exercise to meet the minimum recommended amount of physical activity.

 

Tips for Getting More Exercise

Here are some tips to get carry out exercise throughout the week:

  1. Join a gym close to work. Then, go into the gym before or after leaving the office.
  2. Carry out at-home exercise programs. There are hundreds of apps and digital membership programs that will allow you to carry out exercise from the comfort of your home.
  3. Hire a personal trainer or fitness coach. Many personal trainers have online and in-person personalized or group programs that are affordable with flexible hours.
  4. Set up workout reminders and block out the time in your calendar.
  5. Enlist a workout buddy. Talk to your partner, co-workers, friends, or children about setting up a time to work out together.

Remember, you can start with as little as five minutes a day and gradually increase the time to build resistance and create a habit.

 

Tips for Being More Active Throughout the Day

Squeezing in time to exercise may seem challenging if you spend many hours a day in front of a computer, commuting, or limited time. If this is you, one way to fight sedentarism is to stay active throughout your day. Somethings to stay active include:

  1. Park far away from your office or getting off the subway a stop early. You’ll only tack on a few more minutes on your commute time, but you’ll get in more steps.
  2. Take the stairs. You don’t need to run up quite yet. Take your time and get those muscles moving and your heart pumping.
  3. Get a standing desk. Going from sitting to standing exercises the muscles that keep you erect. If you’re really inspired, you may want to consider getting a stationary bike desk set up in your office.
  4. Set a reminder on your phone to get up and stretch every hour. It will take 30 seconds, and it will help get your blood flowing.

 

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) important

In conclusion, what’s the best strategy to combat the adverse effects of sedentarism and reduce heart health risks? Get moving! Do your best to combine physical activity throughout the day and exercise. If you need extra motivation and accountability, talk to your friends and family about working out together or joining a fitness coaching program.

The WATCHMAN – for Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation

The WATCHMAN is a device for Left Atrial Appendage Closure for Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart arrhythmia worldwide, which affects over 1% of the global population. Therefore, if you have atrial fibrillation, stroke prevention should be a critical part of your treatment plan. Oral blood thinner medications are a common treatment option for atrial fibrillation and stroke prevention, but many patients cannot take these medications.

A diagnosis of AFib does not have to mean a lifetime of taking blood thinner medications. WATCHMAN is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure that reduces stroke risk and bleeding worry for life.

 

What is the Left Atrial Appendage?

The human heart has four chambers, each responsible for different functions. The left atrium (the left upper chamber) collects freshly oxygenated blood from the pulmonary vein and pumps the blood down into the left ventricle (left lower chamber) to be distributed to the body.

The left atrial appendage is a small sac in the muscle wall of the left atrium. In normal heart function, the blood flows well in this area with each heartbeat.

Due to the impaired rhythm and contractions of the atriums during atrial fibrillation, blood can stay longer in the left atrial appendage. If left untreated, a blood clot will form and cause a stroke. Furthermore, over 90% of atrial fibrillation associated strokes occur due to a blood clot created in the left atrium appendage.

 

What is a Left Atrial Appendage Closure?

A left atrial appendage closure is a one-time, minimally invasive procedure that helps reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Firstly, a cardiologist performs this procedure. During the procedure, the Dr. inserts a WATCHMAN closure device into the body through a peripheral vein in the leg. The cardiologist guides the device through the vasculature to the heart chambers. A small hole is created between the right and left atrium, and then they insert the device into the left atrium appendage. Once there, the device opens up like an umbrella and stays permanently implanted into the site.

 

What are the Benefits?

There are many benefits to a left atrial appendage closure but here is the top two:

✅ It is a highly successful, one-time procedure that can significantly reduce your risk of having a cardiac stroke.

✅ After proper healing from the procedure and clearance by your cardiologist, many patients can come off of their oral or injectable anticoagulant medications. Low-dose oral ASA (Aspirin) is often the only antiplatelet medication required after this procedure.

In conclusion, left atrial appendage closure procedures are a great option to reduce the risk of strokes in many people with atrial fibrillation who cannot take blood thinners.

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

 

Meet Dr. Alireza Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri is a cardiac electrophysiologist at Mobitz Heart and Rhythm Center. In conclusion, if you have AFib and are taking blood thinners, you may be a candidate for the WATCHMAN procedure. So, for more information about the left atrial appendage closure procedure and your candidacy, you can consult with Dr. Nazeri. Please visit us at www.MobitzHeart.com

What is Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)?

Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib or AF, is a fast and irregular heartbeat that causes the upper chambers of your heart (atria) to quiver. When this happens, your heart can no longer pump sufficient oxygenated blood to meet the needs of all the organs and tissues in your body.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), the most common chronic heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia), has become a global public health problem. This condition affects between 2.7 and 6.1 million people in the United States, as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 30 million people worldwide are living with AFib. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate roughly 12.1 million people in the United States will have Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) by 2030.

Some people experience short episodes of AFib that stop spontaneously after a few seconds. However, more severe episodes of AFib that do not go away on their own require medical attention. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that having AFib increases your risk of developing health conditions that can be life-threatening, such as stroke and heart failure. Additionally, certain medical conditions that you may already have increase your risk of developing AFib. These conditions, known as risk factors, include;

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Heart failure
  • Previous heart attack

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

Meet Dr. Alireza Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri is a cardiac electrophysiologist (EP) with advanced training in diagnosing and treating arrhythmias, including Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). In short, Dr. Nazeri and his team develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient with AFib. In conclusion, if you have symptoms that suggest Afib, have been diagnosed with Afib, or have risk factors for developing this type of arrhythmia, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Alireza Nazeri. Standard office and TeleVisit consultations are available. Visit Dr. Nazeri’s website at www.MobitzHeart.com or call (713) 909-3166.

The Effects MagSafe has on the iPhone 12 and Implanted Heart Device

The iPhone 12 has been making headlines! Although, not the ways you think as their new feature may affect your Implanted Heart Device. Medical researchers at Henry Ford have warned that the magnet feature in the new iPhones could interfere with life-saving implanted heart devices.

Here’s what Dr. Nazeri wants you to know!

 

How Do Magnets Impact an Implanted Heart Device?

Implantable pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) all contain a magnetic-activated switch found on the surface of each device. When a strong enough magnet is held closely to an implanted device with this switch, it can switch off and change the settings.

These magnetic switches are beneficial in therapeutic settings when doctors change the ICD’s settings in a pacemaker. The problem arises when a magnet interferes with the implanted device, in an uncontrolled medical environment, without a cardiac professional. These magnets can change pace rhythm, stop electrical pulses altogether, or activate the shock delivery function – all of which can result in medical emergencies and life-threatening situations.

Dr. Alireza Nazeri recommends keeping all magnets a safe distance away from your pacemaker or implanted defibrillator, but what happens when your phone is magnetized?

 

iPhone 12 and MagSafe

In October 2020, Apple released the new generation iPhone 12, with a new exciting feature – MagSafe.

MagSafe is a magnetized technology created to aid in better wireless iPhone charging and the attachment of magnetized accessories. Magnetized cases, wallets, and phone mounts are now available for your phone, all powered by a strong magnet in the back of the phone.

The location and strength of the magnet have become a source of concern for cardiologists. Education about magnet avoidance is standard for patients with implanted devices, but this new technology offers increased exposure risks.

 

Safety Considerations

While Apple has released a statement claiming that the MagSafe feature does not offer any additional risks for people with pacemakers than any previous iPhone generation, we have some safety recommendations to reduce the risk of magnet interference.

❌ Do not keep your iPhone 12 in your front chest pocket of a shirt or jacket on the side of your implanted heart device
  • This convenient location to store your phone is too close to your device. Use your pant pockets, a waist holster, or a bag to carry your iPhone 12 in order to reduce close contact.
✅ Keep your iPhone at least 6 inches (15 cm) away from your implanted device
  • The 6 inches (15 cm) distance from your device is a way to ensure that no possible interference can occur. If you are charging your device using MagSafe, we recommend an even further distance of 12 inches (30 cm).
🩺 Consult with your cardiologist for more guidelines for MagSafe and your pacemaker
  • When in doubt, seek out professional opinions and guidelines from your cardiologist or device manufacturer.

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

About Dr. Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri is an experienced cardiac electrophysiologist at Mobitz Heart and Rhythm Center. For more information about implanted devices and cardiac rhythms, please visit our website at www.MobitzHeart.com

Is there a connection between Depression, Anxiety and AFib?

I’m going to tell you right off the bat: there is a serious connection between Depression, Anxiety and AFib.

If you have depression or anxiety and AFib, it is vital you ask your doctor about how to get mental and emotional health support alongside your AFib treatment. Not addressing your depression and anxiety may worsen your AFib symptoms and outlook, but addressing your depression and anxiety may improve your AFib treatment.

The relationship between depression and anxiety and AFib is a cyclical one; if you have AFib, you are more likely to have a depressed mood and anxiety than the general population. Furthermore, having depression and anxiety not only increases your risk of developing AFib, but it also amplifies your heart-related symptoms.

In this article, Dr. Alizera Nazeri summarizes the latest research on how depression, anxiety, and AFib are connected while providing recommendations for the next steps to take if you have a mental health condition and AFib.

 

5 examples on the connection between Depression, Anxiety and AFib

1: People with AFib are Likely to Have Depression and Anxiety

In a study carried out on 170 patients with AFib, researchers found that 34.9% of patients had high levels of anxiety and 20.2% of patients had high levels of depression. Levels of anxiety tend to be higher in women, older patients, in people with university-level education, increased number of years with Afib, people whose primary income is a pension (as opposed to a salary), and obesity.

 

2: Depression and Anxiety Increase Your Risk of Developing AFib

Studies have shown that having depression and anxiety increases your risk of developing AFib, independent of other factors. Furthermore, a Danish study found participants who took antidepressants had a three times higher risk of developing AFib.
Likewise, another study shows that anxiety disorders could trigger the development of AFib.

 

3: Depressed Mood Amplifies AFib Symptoms

People with AFib are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, and depression can worsen your symptoms of AFib.
Additionally, a study carried out with 316 AFib patients found that people who suffered from the physiological symptoms of depression, including; uneasiness, nausea, and shortness of breath, had worse symptoms of AFib, including;

  • shortness of breath,
  • nausea,
  • palpitations,
  • fainting,
  • and a racing heartbeat.

However, when people who suffered from depressive symptoms experienced improvements, they also saw improvements in their AFib symptoms.
To clarify, research shows if a person is suffering from depression or anxiety, whether related to AFib or not, it is vital they talk with a doctor. So, they can build a strategy to help address their depression while also managing their AFib.

 

4: Depression is a Risk Factor for Death in People with AFib

In 2015 research on Swedish patients found the risk of death from all causes in people with atrial fibrillation was higher among men who suffered from depression. Additionally, a meta-analysis and systematic review of several studies found that depression is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

 

5: Depression and Anxiety May Alter your AFib Course of Treatment

Upon receiving a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, you must tell your cardiologist treating your AFib.
Speak with your cardiologist for a referral to a specialist, if you have AFib and symptoms of depression or anxiety. Either way, depression, and anxiety may have implications for your treatment plan, as certain medications could increase your risk of cardiovascular events (heart attack or stroke).

 

  1. If you have an AFib diagnoses, tell your cardiologist or primary care physician immediately if you start having any symptoms of depression or anxiety.
    Common symptoms of depression include: a loss of interest in activities or hobbies, persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness, feeling hopeless or pessimistic, and thoughts of death or suicide.
    Common symptoms of anxiety include: persistent feelings of dread or panic, restlessness or irritability, difficulty controlling worry or fear.
  2. Ensure you talk to your doctor about your AFib and depression or anxiety treatment plan if you have a  depression or anxiety diagnoses. So, they can effectively manage your anxiety or depression while helping to manage your AFib.
  3. Moreover, be honest with your cardiologist about any medication you are taking. If you are feeling depression or anxiety, your treatment plan may change.
  4. Finally, ask for support! Depression and anxiety are serious, life-threatening conditions. It is normal and healthy to seek support from a psychological specialist or therapist. Talk to your cardiologist or primary care specialist if you would like support in getting a referral.

 

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) important

Main Takeaways

Remember, there is a real connection between depression, anxiety, and AFib.

  • Having depression or anxiety increases your risk of developing AFib.
  • Having depression or anxiety worsens your AFib symptoms.
  • People with AFib are more likely to have depression or anxiety.

In conclusion, it is essential for anyone with Afib who is experiencing any symptoms of depression or anxiety to seek professional help, so they can receive an effective treatment plan that improves their quality of life.

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

 

Dr. Nazeri and AFib Treatment

Therefore, if you need to speak with a specialist, Dr. Nazeri is a cardiac electrophysiologist at Mobitz Heart and Rhythm Center. For more information about caffeine and AFib, please consult with Dr. Nazeri or visit us at www.MobitzHeart.com

 

How caffeine affects the heart.

A staple of morning routines everywhere, coffee is the most popular drink worldwide! Coffee, as well as black tea, energy drinks, and chocolate, are all common sources of caffeine in our modern diets. While caffeine helps get our energy flowing, it also can have negative impacts on the heart when consumed in excess – especially in those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib). Dr. Nazeri explains how caffeine affects the heart in this latest article.

 

How Does Caffeine Work?

Caffeine is a stimulant for the brain. After having a caffeinated drink, it is normal to have more energy and feel more awake. No wonder coffee is so popular!

In addition to affecting the brain, caffeine can impact other parts of the body as well. Everyone has a different tolerance level to caffeine, but everyone can feel the negative symptoms of having too much. Common symptoms of high levels of caffeine consumption include increased heart rate, sweating, feelings of stress, shakiness, and headaches.

 

Caffeine and the Heart

Because of its shape, caffeine is able to interact with the cells in the body to cause a release of stress hormones. High levels of stress hormone can cause the heart to beat faster, skip a beat, or even change the rhythm. Furthermore, individuals with heart conditions like AFib are at an increased risk of developing more severe heart problems from consuming a lot of caffeine – but how much caffeine is too much?

 

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

The average cup of black coffee has up to 180 mg of caffeine – and a cup of black tea has around 50 mg. Energy drinks are meant to have high amounts of caffeine and can contain over 250 mg per can. But how much caffeine is safe?
According to the FDA, consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine per day (about 4-5 cups of coffee) is still considered “safe.” Although, it is advisable for individuals with heart conditions to speak with their health provider about safe caffeine levels for their health.

 

Safety Considerations for Caffeine and AFib
  • Check for added caffeine in processed foods and drinks. Energy drinks, workout supplements, and even some desserts can have added caffeine – so be sure to check the food label before eating.
  • Limit caffeine intake throughout the day. Cutting back on the number of morning cups of coffee and tea can help reduce the risk of ingesting too much caffeine throughout the day.
  • Have a caffeine cut-off time. Consuming caffeine late into the day can harm your heart and sleep health, thus, setting a cut-off time for drinking caffeine is a way to help reduce consumption.
  • Finally, consult with a cardiologist for a deeper understanding of how caffeine affects the heart. People diagnosed with AFib or any cardiac arrhythmia should consult with a cardiologist about their caffeine consumption.

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri and AFib Treatment

Dr. Nazeri is a cardiac electrophysiologist at Mobitz Heart and Rhythm Center. For more information about caffeine and AFib, please consult with Dr. Nazeri or visit us at www.MobitzHeart.com

 

Weight Loss Supplements and Heart Health – Know the risk!

After your appointment with your cardiologist or primary care physician, you may have discussed the benefits of lifestyle choices like a balanced diet and regular exercise to support your heart health. However, if you’re thinking of an ‘easier’ approach, you need to understand the risk of weight loss supplements on your heart health.

You may also be interested in losing weight to have an easier time staying active. However, keep in mind the way you lose weight can significantly impact your health than the weight loss itself.

When you are struggling to lose weight with a balanced diet and exercise, you may feel tempted to turn to over-the-counter weight loss pills. In this article, Dr. Alizera Nazeri reviews the research to reveal the dangerous effects of over-the-counter weight loss supplements on your heart health.

 

Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Drugs and Cardiovascular Health

On a population level, there is an association between obesity and many cardiovascular risk factors. The first line of action for addressing weight is usually a “lifestyle approach” that focuses on adopting a balanced diet and carrying out the recommended weekly exercise amount.
However, when a person faces barriers to adopting a healthy lifestyle or does not see the weight loss results they desire, they may turn to weight loss drugs available without a prescription.
Most of these drugs contain some of the following active ingredients: bitter orange, buckwheat, ginseng, green tea, guarana, caffeine, licorice root, ma huang root, among others.

 

Summary of the Effects of Active Ingredients of Weight Loss Drugs on Heart Health

In 2009, Dr. Alizera Nazeri and his team published a paper where summarized the negative effects of herbal and natural supplements marketed for weight loss that result in dangerous effects on heart health. Below is a summary of the effects:

 

Ma huang (Chinese ephedra, Ephedra distachya, and Ephedra vulgaris)
Ephedra promotes weight loss and enhances athletic performance. However, ephedra is associated with life-threatening heart-related adverse events, such as;

Cardiomyopathy
Hypersensitivity myocarditis
Chest tightness
Myocardial infarction
Cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrhythmias
Sudden cardiac death

 

Bitter orange (green orange, Citrus aurantium, aurantium, synephrine HCl and synephrine)

Several serious side effects have been reported, most of which have an association with cardiovascular issues, especially when combining bitter orange with caffeine or ephedrine. Serious cardiac side effects include;
Tachycardia
Tachyarrhythmias
QT prolongation
Variant angina
Myocardial infarction
Cardiac arrest
Ventricular fibrillation
Syncope
Death

 

Green tea (Camellia sinensis and Camellia thea)

While green tea contains components generally considered healthy, such as polyphenols and catechins, green tea also contains caffeine. Large doses of caffeine taken through consuming large amounts of highly concentrated green tea, green tea extract, or green tea in combination with bitter orange or other caffeine-containing herbs can cause;
Catecholamine release – resulting in hypokalemia
Chest pain
Sinus tachycardia
Premature contractions
Arrhythmias

 

Ginseng (Panax ginseng, Korean ginseng)

Ginseng may have properties that help individuals adapt to environmental stress in addition to other properties, which may be beneficial. However, Ginseng taken together with bitter orange or ephedra can cause;
Arrhythmias
Tachycardia

Furthermore, there are no studies on the effect of Ginseng on people with cardiovascular disease and, thus, should be avoided.

 

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Gan Cao, glycyrrhizinic acid, or isoflavone)

Licorice is a common ingredient for weight loss, but research on its effectiveness is conflicting. It can induce fluid retention, and thus;
Increases blood pressure
Worsens congestive heart failure
Increase the risk of irregular or extremely fast heartbeat (arrhythmias)

 

 

Caffeine (Caffeine anhydrous, or 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine)

It is found in OTC medications for weight loss and for treating type 2 diabetes. In very large doses, like those found in OTC medications, or combined with other stimulants, caffeine can cause;
Tachycardia
Metabolic acidosis
Hyperglycemia
Ketosis
and, in rare cases, death from ventricular fibrillation

 

Guarana (Paullinia cupana, or Brazilian cocoa)

Often used for weight loss or for enhancing athletic performance, Guarana has potentially dangerous effects on heart health due to the caffeine it contains. When taken together with other caffeine-containing supplements or bitter orange, it can increase;
Blood pressure
Heart rate
Jitteriness
Seizures
Temporary loss of consciousness
and other adverse reactions

Guarana may also interact with other drugs.

 

Overall Review

The review above demonstrates that natural ingredients and extracts still have the potential to have dangerous effects on your heart health, especially when combined or taken with other drugs.
However, it is important to note that many OTC studies on investigative safety do not include people with current cardiovascular risk or diagnoses. Therefore, such studies do not consider the effects weight loss supplements have on people with specific cardiovascular conditions, other diagnoses, and weights. So, for this reason, if you currently have cardiovascular disease, your cardiologist will probably strongly recommend against the use of over-the-counter weight loss drugs.

Weight Loss Does Not Mean You Will Be Healthier

There is a long-standing correlation between weight and health, but keep in mind that a weight-centric approach to health is often misguided. Your laboratory tests, including lipid panels, electrocardiograms (ECG), troponin, blood cultures, and others, contain much more relevant information about your health than the scale.
Therefore, if health is your goal, prioritize working with your primary care team. So, you can gain access to the information and tools that will help you build a healthier lifestyle and learn about the potential benefits of treatment and medication rather than weight loss.
If weight loss is healthy and safe for you, talk to your healthcare team about building a realistic, sustainable plan for you.

 

Main Takeaways

Over-the-counter weight-loss drugs work in different ways with the primary goal of “treating obesity” or inducing weight loss. Such drugs artificially alter the metabolism in people who have a weight that correlates with overweight or obese weight categories. In general, weight loss drugs are not designed to improve heart health and should not be taken with that goal in mind.
If your goal is to improve your health, such as cardiovascular or otherwise, it is essential to discuss your current health status beyond your weight with your healthcare team. Speak with your primary care physician and cardiologist to build a comprehensive health management plan before taking any over-the-counter medication.

 

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Increases the Risk for Dementia

Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Increases the Risk for Dementia!

Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm known as arrhythmia. Patients with Afib have irregular heart rhythm patterns and may have faster heartbeats. Currently, roughly 2.7 million Americans are living with Afib. Early diagnosis and treatment of Afib is vital as it may cause stroke and heart failure in the long run.

Aside from stroke and heart failure, recently published research studies have shown that Afib can also lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Cognitive impairment and dementia cause considerable distress, not only to patients but also to their caregivers and families.

Dementia is a public health concern worldwide. In the US, for example, more than 500,000 people develop dementia each year. Worldwide, there are approximately 7.7 million new cases of dementia reported each year.

A research study published in 2011 reported that the development of Afib in patients was significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2012, another study published showed that patients with Afib had a 13% increased risk of cognitive decline. Similar studies published since then showing that Afib is an important risk factor for dementia.

 

How Afib increases the risk for dementia?

One of the possible mechanisms that can link Afib with dementia is the increased risk of strokes in patients diagnosed with Afib. Patients who suffered from stroke have high chances of developing dementia.

Another possible mechanism is through the development of a silent stroke, which Afib is a major risk factor for. When there’s a disruption of blood supply to part of the brain, a silent stroke occurs. But unlike typical strokes, silent strokes can have no diagnosis as they may not present with impairment of speech or movement. In other words, you may have had a stroke, but you did not know that you had it. Silent stroke could then lead to cognitive decline or dementia.
Afib can also damage brain function by causing damage to the heart. Damage to the heart can decrease its performance and reduce the blood supply to pump enough blood to all the parts of the brain. Because of the reduced blood supply, cognitive decline and dementia may develop.

 

How to prevent dementia in patients with Afib.

In most patients with Afib, medications known as anticoagulants will prevent the formation of blood clots that may lodge in the arteries to the brain. If the clot goes to these arteries, it may block the blood supply, which can cause a stroke. However, anticoagulants prevent this from happening.
Patients with Afib should undergo cardioversion or catheter ablation that will treat Afib. Studies have shown that patients who undergo these processes had improved blood supply to the brain.
The recommendation for patients with Afib to aid in preventing any complications are lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss, a healthy diet, and increased physical activity.

In conclusion, learn more about your risk for dementia and the available treatment options for Afib. Consult an expert Cardiac Electrophysiologist, also known as an EP doctor. Your EP doctor will conduct clinical tests to assess your risk, perform cardioversion or catheter ablation to treat Afib and monitor your health to prevent the development of dementia.

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

About Dr. Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri offers a TeleHeart program. To easily set up a Televisit (video visit) consultation to discuss any concerns you may have about developing Atrial Fibrillation (AFib.) Lastly, for information about cardiac arrhythmia monitoring and atrial fibrillation, please call on 713-909-3166 or visit our website at www.MobitzHeart.com

The Relationship Between Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

The vast majority of people don’t understand the relationship between consuming alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation (AFib.) Atrial Fibrillation, often called AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. It causes your heart to beat irregularly, slower, or faster than your body needs it to.

Whether or not you have AFib, there are several other choices we make and activities we partake in that also affect our heart and circulatory system in general. Some of those activities, such as light to moderate exercise, strengthen the heart muscles while other activities, such as drinking alcohol, can cause your heart health to suffer.
In this article, Dr. Nazeri addresses some common topics about how drinking alcohol affects Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), in addition to providing facts to help you make better choices for your heart health.

 

Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Developing AFib

If you do not currently have AFib but know someone who does, you might want to know whether your current alcohol consumption patterns may increase your risk of developing AFib.

A recent systematic review of studies found the following:

  • High levels of alcohol intake (3 drinks a day) are associated with an increased risk of developing AFib.
  • Moderate levels of alcohol intake (2 drinks a day) are associated with a heightened risk of developing AFib in males but not females. However, other systematic reviews note that while the risk for females who drink 2 drinks a day is lower than for men, the risk for developing AFib does increase.
  • Low levels of alcohol intake (up to 1 drink a day) showed no association with AFib development.

In short, limiting alcohol intake to up to 1 drink a day will lower your risk of developing AFib. However, research indicates that drinking less alcohol is best when concerning AFib risk, as alcohol may interact with other factors contributing to AFib development.

Furthermore, it is vital to remember moderate to high alcohol consumption levels are also associated with many other acute and chronic health conditions, including coronary heart disease, cancer, and infectious diseases.

 

Drinking Alcohol if You Have AFib

Regularly drinking alcohol has a direct effect on how your heart functions. If you currently have AFib, drinking alcohol may exacerbate the symptoms of the condition. Additionally, depending on the amount of alcohol you are drinking, it could worsen the condition.

Continuing to drink alcohol after being diagnosed with AFib can result in the following:

  • Higher rates of progression from paroxysmal (occasional) AFib to persistent (continual) AFib
  • Increased risk of recurrent AFib
  • Higher risk of death
  • Increased risk of thromboembolism (blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot)

Even though light-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of new coronary artery disease, angina, heart attacks, and other heart-related diseases in currently healthy people, these results cannot extend to people with AFib.

Therefore, your cardiologist will likely recommend that you abstain from alcohol entirely if you have AFib.

 

Alcohol and Reduction in AFib Symptoms

A randomized trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of abstaining from alcohol on the occurrence of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeat, in AFib patients.

The trial assigned 140 patients randomly into two groups with one group having to abstain from alcohol entirely, and the other received no instructions to abstain from alcohol. As a result, the researchers observed that the abstinence group had a more extended period before the recurrence of atrial fibrillation and had significantly less atrial fibrillation burden.

In other words, people who abstain from alcohol after an AFib diagnosis will have a regular heartbeat for more time when compared to people who didn’t modify their drinking habits.

Alcohol consumption is a common and often accepted part of many cultures, including Western culture. In fact, low to moderate consumption of wine and beer is popularly associated with health benefits. However, it is essential to note that alcohol is by no means “good” for you. However, people with AFib, or other forms of heart disease, cannot consider they too can have such benefits from light alcohol consumption.

To sum up, the relationship between consuming Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is real and can increase the risk of developing AFib or other heart conditions. Therefore, limiting alcohol consumption to the occasional drink or abstaining altogether is beneficial for your health and well-being and may reduce your risk of developing AFib. So, if you currently have AFib, your physician specialist will likely recommend that you abstain from alcohol to avoid more damage to your circulatory system.

In conclusion, let your physician know if you would like support to abstain from alcohol consumption.

 

 

early detection of Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr, Nazeri

About Dr. Nazeri

Dr. Nazeri offers a TeleHeart program to easily set up a Televisit (video visit) consultation to discuss any concerns you may have about developing Atrial Fibrillation (AFib.) Lastly, for more information about cardiac arrhythmia monitoring and atrial fibrillation, please call us at 713-909-3166 or visit our website at www.MobitzHeart.com

 

References

  1. Morseth B, Løchen M, Ariansen I, Myrstad M, Thelle D. The ambiguity of physical activity, exercise and atrial fibrillation. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018;25(6):624-636. doi:10.1177/2047487318754930
  2. Gallagher C, Hendriks J, Elliott A et al. Alcohol and incident atrial fibrillation – A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol. 2017;246:46-52. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.05.133
  3. Samokhvalov A, Irving H, Rehm J. Alcohol consumption as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation. 2010;17(6):706-712. doi:10.1097/hjr.0b013e32833a1947
  4. Voskoboinik A, Prabhu S, Ling L, Kalman J, Kistler P. Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016;68(23):2567-2576. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.08.074
  5. Rehm J, Imtiaz S. A narrative review of alcohol consumption as a risk factor for global burden of disease. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2016;11(1). doi:10.1186/s13011-016-0081-2
  6. Zhao J, Stockwell T, Roemer A, Naimi T, Chikritzhs T. Alcohol Consumption and Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease: An Updated Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017;78(3):375-386. doi:10.15288/jsad.2017.78.375
  7. Voskoboinik A, Kalman J, De Silva A et al. Alcohol Abstinence in Drinkers with Atrial Fibrillation. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020;382(1):20-28. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1817591

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