Atrial Fibrillation: common part of aging

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Many of the aging population experience abnormal heart rhythms. This condition is a common type of arrhythmia and is popularly known as Atrial Fibrillation, says Dr. V. C. Ajith Kumar, Director and Principal Consultant of Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore, Little India Branch. Obesity, sedate lifestyles, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease are some of the reasons why atrial fibrillation is embracing more and more of the elderly crowd, explains Dr. Ajith Kumar.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

This condition persists mostly in the elderly age group and certain cardiovascular conditions, long-term endurance exercises, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, viral infections, and Mitral valve stenosis are all some of the reasons that cause this condition, elaborates the Ayurvedic doctor.

Symptoms

In the early part of the disease, the indications are asymptomatic and only as it progresses it becomes more vivid. Dr. Ajith Kumar explains that symptoms like rapid heart rate, palpitations, swelling in the lower extremities, dizziness, and confusion makes the patient feel uncomfortable. “Some might even experience fainting spells, chest pain, swelling, and shortness of breath.”  

“Though this kind of rhythm is generally not serious, it doubles the risk of death due to the abnormal blood flow which in turn causes a strain to the heart,” says Dr. Ajith Kumar, the chief doctor at Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore.

Medical reasoning

What causes this Atrial fibrillation? EXPLAINS DR. AJITH KUMAR:

The heart pumps blood all over the body by contracting and relaxing. The upper chambers are called atria and the lower ones are called ventricles. The Sinoatrial Node (SA), a bundle of cells, is where the contractions begin.  It then spreads as electrical impulses through the atrial walls.

But, as time goes by the atria stretch and fibrillations begin. The walls of the atrium develop fibrous tissue which puts a check on the conduction of electrical impulses generated in the heart.  Therefore, the impulses stray, spiral, and do not go straight to the atria. The result is atrial fibrillation. 

Dr. V. C. Ajith Kumar, Director and Principal Consultant of Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore, says that high blood pressure associated with the stiffening of arteries also causes atrial fibrillation. “This condition increases the heart’s workload and stretches the atria. The increased workload on the heart thickens the muscle walls of the ventricles. This irritates the heart and makes it produce extra beats and the result is atrial fibrillation,” elucidates the doctor of Ayurveda. “Major surgeries, sleep apnea, and lung diseases may also cause this condition.”

Blood clots

Another serious outcome of atrial fibrillation is forming of a blood clot. And if this clot reaches the brain, it will cause a stroke, says Dr. Ajith Kumar. The seriousness does not end here, for stroke and its symptoms can be of various types and this depends on the part of the brain the clot reaches. Therefore, we doctors rush immediately to lessen the risk of stroke by prescribing the right kind of medicines that prevent blood clots in the heart, explained the doctor of Ayurveda.

Diagnostic Methods for Atrial Fibrillation

How do doctors diagnose the condition? Dr. Ajith Kumar, an Ayurvedic Physician of Ayush, Singapore gives us the following salient points to diagnose the case.

  • The doctor should take a complete history of the patient and should also carry out a proper physical examination
  • An elaborate blood test needs to be done at the earliest. Electrolytes, TSH, and kidney function tests should all be monitored.
  • Electrocardiogram, Echocardiography, and a Chest X–ray will be required.

Herbal Care for the Heart

  • Marich Phalam & Dong Quai (Cayenne pepper: strengthens the heart, increases circulation)
  • Basangli (Hawthorn berry, increases heart circulation, eases angina)
  • Lashona (Garlic, opens clogged arteries)
  • Motherwort (slows heart rate)
  • Angelica (anti-arrhythmia)
  • Astragalus (increases cardiac output

Using herbs is definitely good for your heart. Other herbs that might be helpful include metallic compounds like Suvarna-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma, and Shrung-Bhasma. These are given in combination with herbal medicines such as Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Guggulu (Commiphora Mukul), Draksha (Vitis vinifera), Triphala (Three fruits), Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Pippalimool (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Bhallatak (Semicarpus Anacardium), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) and Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa). All these acts on the heart muscle ascertain Dr. Ajith Kumar.

We can use the above-mentioned medicines to reduce high blood pressure and normalize the functioning of the heart and lungs. These can be used on a long-term basis to prevent the recurrence of Afib, assures Dr. Ajith Kumar, doctor of Ayurveda.  

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