Regular Yoga helps in maintaining a healthy heart and can be suggested for people suffering from Atrial fibrillation, according to a new study. The study team found that people engaging in yogic practices regularly benefitted in cases of abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure. Many others studies in the past have linked yoga with better quality of life and health.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, impacting nearly 1.5-2 percent of the population in the developed countries. The current study was conducted in Sweden over 12-week period. The study team found that participants performing yoga regularly during the study showed significant improvement in heart rate and blood pressure.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart disorder which impacts the two upper chambers of heart. Blood doesn’t pump completely in the ventricles in cases of Atrial fibrillation and pools in the upper chambers (atria). As there is a mismatch in the working of upper and lower chambers of heart, the condition leads to heart rhythm disorder.
Study team lead Maria Wahlstrom from Karolinska Institute in Sweden said, “Atrial fibrillation episodes are accompanied by chest pain, dyspnoea and dizziness. These symptoms are unpleasant and patients feel anxious, worried and stressed that an AF episode will occur.”
The study included 80 patients suffering from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. It happens for 48 hours and then stops. However, some people can even suffer from the condition for a week.
The study participants were divided into two groups. One group was offered standard treatment with medication and in certain cases, cardioversion and catheter ablation. The second group was offered standard treatment and a yoga program including deep breathing, meditation and light movements.
The yoga schedule was performed once a week, for one hour. The study team evaluated patients after 12 weeks. The study team said, “Quality of life (physical and mental health) was assessed using two validated questionnaires, the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).”
“We found that patients who did yoga had a better quality of life, lower heart rate and lower blood pressure than patients who did not do yoga,” said Wahlstrom.
The research paper informed, “It could be that the deep breathing balances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, leading to less variation in heart rate. The breathing and movement may have beneficial effects on blood pressure.”
“Yoga may improve quality of life in patients with paroxysmal AF because it gives them a method to gain some self control over their symptoms instead of feeling helpless,” said Wahlstrom.
As per CDC information, nearly 6.1 people in the United States suffer from atrial fibrillation.
Detailed findings of the study have been published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.