May I ask some advice from all you amazing support people?

I was diagnosed with AF in 1994, but my attacks were so few and far between, say 1 or two times per year, very gradually becoming more frequent and stronger, until Sept 2012, when it became difficult to operate normally, [especially when I had the 9-week "cold" !] I was put on Warfarin, Digoxin and Verapamil, I cannot take beta blockers as I have Psoriasis. Is Verapamil a Rate or Rhythm drug? This regime seems to be stabilising it all, but I don't have much energy, and not enough confidence to go out alone for long.

I have been fascinated reading such well researched comments from many, Beancounter; BobD; GrandmaSRM, and The Stand; Please don't stop writing, you have SO much well-considered info to help us who are new to all this ! I, and so many others really appreciate the time you spend considering your answers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart !!!

11 Replies

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  • GranJan, Welcome to the forum.

    Verapamil is a calcium channel blocker which is used to slow the heart down similar to beta blockers and is part of the rate control family. But a calcium channel blocker achieves results in a different manner than beta blockers.

    I had a similar experience with calcium channel blockers. They really made me tired. I could take beta blockers with almost no problems but the calcium ch. blockers really hit me hard. And then adding the rhythm control med (Digoxin) that can also cause you to tire easily could really drag you down. The good thing is that they seem to be working and also as you get used to the meds the tiredness will slowly fade and you will start to feel better.

    As for how it started with you... That is the textbook story. It start out 1 or 2 times a year and sometimes even less and grows to frequent attacks. Mine took about 10 years to go from once a year to 2 or 3 attacks a week.

    If your current meds fail there are others to try and also procedures that have cured the AF in many.

    Keep us current on what's happening and feel free to ask what you need.

    Again, Welcome to the forum... We understand because we have all been there.

    Tim

  • Thank you Tim. That certainly helps me to start to formulate questions for my first visit to the cardiologist on 11 June. I honestly don't know how to deal with it; but there have been some very helpful notes recently! GranJan

  • Gran,

    As you formulate these questions, write them down. I promise that you will walk out of that meeting and then remember 10 things that you wanted to ask him. Most Drs tend to use a lot of medical terms because they understand them. They don't seem to remember that we all did not go to medical school, so if you hear something that you don't understand... Ask them to explain. If you don't get a good understanding, come back here and ask. There are many here and someone will find the answer. And most of us don't speak medicalese as a primary language.

    Make sure you ask him to go over all available treatments.

    Good luck with your first Appt.

    Tim

  • Hi Granjan

    Just to prove we are not all the same, I had the opposite effect to Tim I was taking Bisoprolol which is a beta blocker and was wiped out by mid afternoon every day, switched to Diltiazem, a calcium channel blocker, and I was bouncing off the walls with energy.

    I would say that the message here is that obviously being on a rate control drug is working for you, but there are a whole raft of different ones, and if the current one is not suited, there may be others.

    But I fully agree with Tim when he says give them a chance our bodies seem to settle down to a drug regime, and it does get easier I promise you. Also fully concur about reading learning, and writing down those questions, I promise you when you sit in front of the cardio and bring out your list 1) he/she will be delighted, informed patients are much easily to deal with, and 2) He will be more easily able to gauge at what level to pitch his/her answers to you which will depend on the sort of questions you ask.

    Welcome and ask away

    Ian

  • Thank you Ian. I must settle down to sorting out my questions for my cardio. At the moment it all feels quite overwhelming. GranJan

  • Hi GranJan,

    Yes to what Tim and Ian have said. Everyone reacts differently to different drugs and everyone has a somewhat different AF story. One other suggestion for all of your questions is to find out whether your cardiologist or EP takes email questions. That way you don't have to accumulate so many questions and wonder from appointment to appointment and he or she will have great information to refer to during your visit from what you have asked or shared in the email. When I go to my yearly appointment, the last thing my EP says before he leaves is, "don't forget, you have my email and my cell phone number. If you need something you can find me" And so I email when I have a question and he always gets back to me within a few hours. I feel he knows me better because of our email exchanges. So it's worth asking if that is a possibility for you. Meanwhile, we are here to share experiences and listen to your concerns. We've all had a lot of experience at this, unfortunately, and are happy to help where we can. Be well!

  • Hi GranJan

    I can't imagine any of our NHS consultants giving out phone numbers or emails, unless of course you are seeing them privately. Are you in the UK?

    Eileen

  • Yes Eileen, I am in the UK, and I cannot imagine that happening here!

  • Oops. Didn't realize that wasn't a possibility in the U.K. I'm across the pond in the US.

  • Agreed. It took me months of trying before I accidentaly found my consultant's secretary's e mail address.

    BobD

  • .....that's a wrinkle to remember!

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