AF in the family

I have discovered that AF runs (or possibly walks slowly) in one side of my family. I knew there were heart problems on my father's side, but because he wasn't really in touch with his brothers and sisters I knew little more than that. My father had high blood pressure, and my grandfather died of a heart attack... that was all I really knew.

However, I am in touch with a cousin on that side of the family thanks to doing a family tree, so I had a brain wave, explained the situation, and asked him if he knew any more about it. He confirmed there were problems and added that he had AF too! So it is in the family... For some reason this makes me feel better, goodness knows why, because it sounds as if he has had a tough time of it (two failed ablations).

Neither of us know any more about the rest of the family, except that three of my father's siblings died young. Roy is a little older than I am, so I am relying on him to keep ticking over now, to make me feel more optimistic!

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  • G'day Eatsalottie,

    Yes, my experience is similar to yours. Its all beyond just coincidence !

    My paternal grandfather died from a series of strokes, aged 82, in 1964. Long before AF had ever been identified as we know it today. Too long ago now to know if these strokes were AF related. I then discovered a second cousin had AF, he has had an ablation and is still going strong. The connection is that his paternal grandfather and mine were brothers ! He is trying to find out the cause of death of his grandfather. Now my daughter (aged 27 ) has been diagnosed with AF ! My fathers death was diabetes related following 12 years as my mothers carer (she had dementia).

    It does seem that there is a genetic predisposition to this condition.

    Aussie John

  • I have af ...my brother has af...my father had af.....I have made my daughter aware of situation and her doc keeps an eye on her...although she did have a few palpitations...so far so good...I'm convinced it is familial ....

  • Thanks John and Vdl1,

    Yes, I am going to have to break the news to our daughters, which I'm dreading. I know it is best that they are aware though, so that if they do have problems they know how to deal with them. The theory that there is often a family link does seem to be correct...

  • I had to google that Sabina, but yes, it's another electrical problem with the heart isn't it, so I wouldn't be at all surprised personally. I'm sure that the medics don't know everything about these things yet.

    Incidentally, I'm leaving comments because the reply button isn't working :)

  • There is no doubt that one needs a genetic pre-disposition to AF for you to develop it. In some younger patients this may come about from excessive training as in endurance athletes where enlargement of the left atria allows the formation of rogue pathways. In others it may be inherited , perhaps the atria has a particular size or shape so none of that is at all a mystery. AF is/has been one of the most under valued of conditions for many years and only in the last 20 has any kind of research been done into it. Prior to that it was considered a benign nuisance! 2007 saw the connection with stroke and only since then has any real progress been made thanks to AFA/Stroke Association but I do expect things to improve over time. Genetic mapping could help understanding but only if doctors could find a way of preventing it's development could it seriously affect outcomes. I'm not sure that I would have wanted to know it was coming my way!

    BobD

  • I know what you mean Bob, sometimes ignorance is bliss! One thing I am sure of is that I didn't get it from excessive training (unless you include doing the Jane Fonda workout when I was a young sprout!). It's fascinating that the research is being done and the things they are uncovering. I just hope that by the time our daughters are old enough to suffer this - and I pray they don't - that it will be something well understood and easily controlled. The idea that one day there might be gene therapy is terrifically exciting.

  • Hi Eatsalotte

    It does seem that there is a link ...genetic maybe ,,,, between family members as far as AF is concerned, My mother had an enlarged heart after many years of palpitations and " feeling odd "..guess she had AF but it wasn't known as a medical condition then so was left untreated.

    So far my kids are ok....as are my sister & her family ....but we all have thyroid problems too... another link . Some day a preventative /cure will put AF in its place but until then we plod on ! :)

    Nikki

  • Hi Skary,

    Yes, I guess just a generation back it wasn't something anyone knew anything about - palpitations is exactly what most people would have called it... I guess we are lucky in that at least now a lot more is known about it. Yes, we plod on, don't we? :)

  • You won't believe this but my husband has started with A.F as well. I have had it for a long time so at least I will be able to help him understand it. Our son doesn't stand much chance does he! I have 1st degree heart block and husband has right bundle branch partial block so since these are both conduction disorders I'm wondering if they predispose you to developing A.F. what do you think anyone?

  • You won't believe this but my husband has started with A.F as well. I have had it for a long time so at least I will be able to help him understand it. Our son doesn't stand much chance does he! I have 1st degree heart block and husband has right bundle branch partial block so since these are both conduction disorders I'm wondering if they predispose you to developing A.F. what do you think anyone?

  • I have AF and my mother now has it, unlike me, she cannot tell when she's in it.. but is covered by warfarin anyway so that's a relief.

  • Hiya - just found this! Interesting! I was fortunate to be born in a family of 8 boys and me. I am next to the youngest and have, at 61, 1 younger and 1 older brother.

    Unfortunately, 5 brothers died at a young ages 18,56, 58, 61 and 70. One was a baby. Out of these, 4 had AF and high BP's. 3 refused treatment including the 2 diabetics. I don't know if Mum and Dad had AF but died from heart related problems. Maybe if information is as is is today a least one of them might still be here.

    I can honestly say that I really feel that it is hereditary! Hoping and praying that it doesn't affect my son. My AF has been with me (diagnosed) since 2010 although I suspect it has been around for 10 or so years before that. I always put it down to anxiety.

  • Both my parents have arrhythmias. My mother diagnosed with AF 13 years ago, still battling on.

    My father never diagnosed, he just called it "his heart murmur" or if he wanted to impress he called it tachycardia.

    I remember him getting me to take his pulse when I was 16 (43 now) and it was racing, same as my fast AF.

    He is still alive too.

    Genetics are a cross to carry, at least I can blame them. Same as I blame them both for turning grey aged 30!

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