Premature Atrial Contraction (PAC) is a type of cardiac arrhythmia, also known as an irregular or abnormal heartbeat. A PAC is a type of arrhythmia that causes extra and early beats with an origination point in the upper chambers of the heart. While PACs are common and usually harmless, it is always a good idea to check with a cardiologist to rule out any possible underlying issues that may be responsible for the PACs. However, even in healthy individuals with healthy hearts, PACs can be found and are generally caused by outside elements in your diet or lifestyle. With a few simple changes, PACs can be reduced or prevented.
Limit or eliminate your use of caffeinated products, including coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and some over-the-counter medications. Caffeine raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure, which causes more stress on the heart and in turn can contribute to PACs.
Avoid or limit alcoholic beverages. Similar to that of caffeine, alcohol can contribute to increased stress on the heart and the occurrence of PACs.
Quit or reduce the amount of tobacco you are smoking. Smoking also increases blood pressure and pulse rate, making the heart work harder and possibly contributing to premature atrial contractions.
Avoid the use of stimulants that can be found in cough and cold medicines or herbal supplements. Consult your doctor or pharmacist to check if a product may contain these stimulants.
Reduce stress by trying various different relaxation methods. Consult the Resources section for some different relaxation methods.
Follow a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Too much exercise, however, can contribute to PACs, so if you find yourself doing something that may be causing them, reduce your activity or find another type of exercise to do.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are experiencing premature atrial contractions, consult your doctor to eliminate any possible underlying heart conditions that could be the cause.
- Cleveland Clinic: Management of Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heartbeats)
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: What Causes an Arrhythmia?
- PubMed U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Does Smoking Affect Blood Pressure and Heart Rate?
- Scientific American: How Does Caffeine Affect the Body?
- Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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