Corticosteroids are linked to an increased risk of irregular heart beat

Taking corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can increase your risk of suffering from irregular heartbeats, making you more likely to suffer from a heart condition, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Corticosteroids are naturally occurring hormones with a wide array of functions, including managing your stress response and regulating inflammation and the function of your immune system. An example of a corticosteroid is the “stress hormone” cortisol.

Artificial corticosteroids are medicines whose function imitate that of the natural hormone cortisone. This is why they are also called “cortisone-like medicines.” Their main use is to reduce the symptoms associated with inflammation, including redness, itchiness, swelling, and allergic reaction. Although how they are used depends on the doctor prescribing them, they are often administered for conditions like asthma and arthritis.

Unfortunately, taking corticosteroids also causes abnormalities in your heartbeat. This condition, called atrial fibrillation, is characterized by a disorganized twitching in the atria or the upper chambers of the heart. Atrial fibrillation your heart cannot pump blood as efficiently as normal, preventing your body from receiving oxygen and nutrients normally supplied by your blood. This condition is accompanied by other symptoms, including palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

In very bad cases, atrial fibrillation causes blood to pool inside your body. Apart from causing heart failure, this can also lead to the creation of abnormal blood clots. Atrial fibrillation is one of the main causes of stroke.

The study followed and assessed 8,000 participants over a decade. The researchers noted that participants who took corticosteroids were four times more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation than those who did not take the drugs. Those individuals who took a dosage of 7.5 milligrams (mg) or higher had up to six times more risk of developing the condition. People who took a lower dose lowered their risk to just two times.

The researchers, therefore, concluded that corticosteroids can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Furthermore, the results depended not on how long people have been taking the corticosteroids, but how much of the drugs they were taking.

Natural ways to keep inflammation at bay

Both arthritis and asthma are caused by chronic inflammation. Following these steps can help reduce the occurrence of inflammation in the body:

  • Change your diet – What you eat will have a tremendous effect on your body’s ability to resist inflammation. Certain foods, such as refined sugars, are pro-inflammatory and need to be reduced, if not downright avoided. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts need to comprise a bigger percentage of your diet as they contain valuable nutrients that help your body fight inflammation and its bad effects. They also contain antioxidants that help maintain proper immune function. Among the nutrients that you need to fight inflammation are omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in nuts, fatty fishes, and certain oils. They help lower inflammation and enhance your protection from serious diseases like cancer.
  • Modify your lifestyle – Certain lifestyle changes go a long way in reducing the incidence of inflammation. For instance, reducing your alcohol intake helps reduce inflammation in your liver, helping this vital organ perform its roles properly. Managing your stress levels by engaging in relaxing activities like meditation also goes a long way in reducing inflammation and even helps by improving your immunity. Do not underestimate the value of adequate sleep either. Not only does it help you curb the bad effects of stress, but it also gives your body time to rest and do necessary repairs.
  • Exercise and do yoga – Exercise has healing effects thanks to its ability to help you control your mood while strengthening your body. Like yoga, regular exercise even helps manage stress.

Make the switch from synthetic medication to natural alternatives. Find out more at

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