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Prevention and Lifestyle

The importance of shared decision-making

Decisions about ongoing care for heart arrhythmias should be based on an individual’s needs. That’s why shared decision making is so important. Shared decision-making means you have all the information you need to make decisions about the management of your condition with your health care professionals and your family.

This usually brings together a multidisciplinary team (MDT)

of health professionals with different skills. The MDT will recommend a treatment approach in consultation with you, and often family or close friends who are brought into the decision-making process. MDTs help make sure you receive care that considers your needs, as well as other factors in your life that affect your health and wellbeing.

Lifestyle factors and managing heart arrhythmias

There are many things you can do to help manage your heart arrhythmia. This can include looking after your own mental health and that of your carer, ensuring that you have the

right support at home, taking part in a cardiac rehabilitation program, and seeing an exercise physiologist.

 

Some positive lifestyle changes you can make to manage your condition include:

 

Knowing your arrhythmia triggers and taking steps to avoid them.

Alcohol can trigger arrhythmias, so it’s a good idea to reduce or avoid alcohol for the health of your heart.

A healthy diet can lead to a healthier heart. Eat more vegetables, fruits and embrace whole grains, poultry and seafood whilst limiting salt, sugar, highly processed foods and saturated fats.

Try to keep a healthy weight and if you are overweight or obese your doctor will be able to recommend ways to manage this

It only takes a small amount of physical activity every day to make a difference. Talk to your doctor about what kind of physical activity you can do with your arrhythmia.

Try to minimise stress by doing relaxing activities and spending quality time with friends and family.

If you smoke, quitting is good for the health of your heart. Speak to your doctor or call Quitline on 13 7848 for support with giving up smoking.

 

 

Try to maintain a healthy state of mind

When heart arrhythmias are serious, it can be a mental health challenge as much as a physical one. You need to do all that you can to support your mental health moving forward.

Talking to a professional can help with your mental health. Counselling or psychological therapy can be very useful for managing mental health and your condition. Your doctor can provide you with some options, and give you a referral to a psychologist.

Alternatively, to talk to someone at hearts4heart about any concerns you might have about your arrhythmia, email [email protected] hearts4heart.org.au. We can provide you with answers to your questions from a clinician, or a member of the patient advocate group.