Anxiety management for AF patients

From my experience in heart disease in general and irrythemias in particular I confirm that it is a key factor in generating anxiety

Feeling extremely worried about having another AF episodes , when and where , how to deal with it this time , what was the trigger , medication side effects , all of those ugly worries make us so anxious , restless, body aches , more irrythemias

Hope we can share our tools / techniques to reduce anxiety and limit it's negative impact during our daily lives

I tried medication earlier it helped only for a short term and I gain ten kilos in only six months but I think it is useless since the reason as AF is there

Body message is helping me sometimes , but still can't stop my worries and can't plan for any normal travel or event , can't give any promises for a visit or tour since I can't be sure that I will be fine by that time

We are having a week off next week wish I can go with kids for a vacation but afraid it may end at ER as usual

Can we ignore AF and live just normal life like others ? That is all what I'm dreaming off right now

21 Replies

oldestnewest
  • It's hard to relax when you suffer AF because attacks are unpredictable. Gets better over time. Yoga and meditation is really good.

    You could ask about agomelatine 25mcg as it helps with sleep and anxiety problems and it's a melatonin antagonist. You'd need your GP or consultant to refer you for consideration. It's not an addictive med in so far as I am aware.

  • You are right it is impossible to feel relax if you are suffering from AF

    I'm trying my best to keep my self relaxed as much as possible all the times , sometimes I'm using zanax for short term

    I booked an appointment for acupuncture as recommended by few ppl here

    But I feel I really need help in this regard

    I will discuss your recommendation with my doctor soon

    Thank you

  • Sadly this seems to be a Catch 22 situation for some people - AF generating anxiety & anxiety generating AF. I really wish I had the answer for those affected in this way.

    However I am a great believer that adopting a positive mental attitude does help. I do not live in fear of my heart turning cartwheels, when, where and how. I certainly don`t like it when it happens, but deal with it as necessary at the time, and when the moment has passed get on with life as normal.

    Worrying only makes matters worse, and can cause internal tension which in turn can create or aggravate other physical problems. Self help in the form of yoga etc., as Loquitir suggests, enables one to take control instead of allowing AF to become the dominant feature of ones life.

  • I still feel anxious and very low. I have good days and bad, yoga helps for a short while, I am angry because I am unable to do as much as I used to do. Many of the yoga positions must be avoided because of the effect on the heart, many of the positions can be modified. Unfortunately I learned the hard way. You need to find a teacher who is fully conversant with heart conditions and the meds and side effects. No inverts, no extreme side bends such as triangle, warrior pose modified, arms should not be raised above the head, etc, etc. British Wheel of Yoga advice the head should should not be lower than the heart. When I drop something, I come into a semi squat position.

    Learn the practice of 'Creative Quiet'

    I look out of the window and the sun is shining, a clear blue sky above, and I watch the trees swaying in the wind.

    I have been told some months ago that I have a 3cm lesion on the right kidney. So it is all systems go. I got over the Maze lll procedure, hole in the heart repaired, if I can get over that, I will be able to get over the next obstacle.

  • Thank you for sharing this with me, I feel all what you mentioned

    I had been through two open heart surgeries earlier also , and as you said such experience should make us more strong and able to pass further challenges and you will also for sure

    As you mentioned I noticed that some positions trigger my SVT and AF especially my head down and stretching my hands over my heard , sometime even talking and laughing !

    I feel sorry for myself most of the times trying to convince myself that I'm ok and live day by day

    Yesterday I had SVR in the middle of the night , today I'm in bed so down , chess pain and sad , I was planning to go to work then shopping with kids all cancelled

    I feel embarrassed from my husband even he is very kind to me and very supportive for the last two years , I'm afraid he will suffer more with me till the end

    My husband got anxiety because of me right now , he is always ready for emergency cases ,can't leave me alone at home

    I believe in god and all is written earlier that helps me a lot but suffering in this way is really very hard on me and my dear family

    Hope I can find a group nearby just like me where we may talk and share our worries since others can't feel this like we do

    Fed up from advices on being calm , ignore , this not dangerous

    Hope god will help us all

    Sorry for being down today

    Maitha

  • Hi Maitha,

    I am really sorry to hear that you are having a tough time of it. No one understands how waiting for the next AF episode impacts our lives, can put a cloud over anticipation of happy events because we may feel horrible that day with our wildly beating heart.

    All I can tell you is to keep looking for whatever works to keep you calm. I keep reminding myself that worrying never made anything better, it just ruins the day you spend worrying.

    I think those of us with AF really have to learn to live in the moment and when we are in NSR enjoy it to the fullest.

    I think I've gotten better at coping over the last few years and I finally have my blood pressure under good control and have let go of a lot of the need to be a perfectionist that contributed to the high blood pressure that led to the A Fib in the first place.

    As my dad used to say, "Any day you wake up on the right side of the grass is a good day!"

    I hope tomorrow is better for you. You know all your friends here wish that for you and we all understand and are here to listen.

    sending hugs. Wish we could sit and chat in person.

  • Hi Vivante, sorry to hear you have more health hassle to deal with. Good to hear you have overcome so much to date. Best wishes.

  • Oh Maitha, sorry you feel so down today. It is easy to say stay calm and have a "I dont let it rule me" attitude but then some people with this condition have horrendous symptoms which are very frightening while others have less aggressive symptoms and can therefore be more positive in their approach to it all. If we all had your symptoms I can assure you we would be very distressed as are you.

    All I can say is yes today is a bad day and perhaps you have to go with it. This is such a random condition that tomorrow you may feel somewhat better. So unpredictable. I feel as though I have a time bomb strapped across my chest and dont know when it is going to explode. What I do know is when it does explode (all my three arrhythmia's kicking in at once) I need immediate hospital care as an emergency then an in patient - no question, no alternative, I only wish there was. So I find my life curtailed too much to my anger.

    Positive things to hold onto: 1. There is ongoing research which will eventually bring us all some significant relief, maybe even a cure. 2. There are some excellent medics out there, try to find one no matter where you have to look. 3. You have a wonderful family who love you and yes they are stressed, but they are there for you ongoing as you are for them when they need your support. 4. You can only actually live one day at time - today is a bad one, tomorrow may be less so or even a very good one. 5. You have this group to support you. 6. Nothing goes on forever, things eventually are resolved one way or another. 7. Love your life, you are blessed overall. 8. Continue to pray and belief as you have a belief in God. 9. Enjoy your good days with energy and enthusiasm it will set you up for less good/bad days.

    All very easy to say I know and less easy to do. Have faith though Maitha.

    Best wishes sent your way from a chilly, windy but sunny part of England.

  • Thank you for your kind input

    I feel sorry to hear you are also having similar situation , hope no one else go though such stress

    You are right we should focus on the blessing we have :)

    Sorry again for being so down today , looking forward for a better future

    Regards

  • Yes Maitha. Be sure that we are all here for you as you are for us. I really hope tomorrow is a better day for you.x

  • Thank you dear

    Wish you will never go through such bad day

    All the best

  • Maitha, You are having a worse day than I am. I hope you will pick up soon. Meadfoot, you are also having a difficult time of it. I have thought many times how happy we are making the pharmaceutical companies, without us they would all probably be hard up.

    I am sure they are making medicines with so many side effects, it means we need more to keep us going. I no longer call them my happy pills. Did I mention the gallstones? I have them also. I had thought of entering the next Come Dancing, it wouldn't work. With the pills and the stones, the noise would outdo the sound of the music. Any info re The Royal London Hospital, that is where I will be going next year to find out when and what the deed will be done.

    I sincerely hope you will feel better soon

    May God Bless you all.

  • Hi Vivante, Trusting that you will receive good care at Royal London, it has an excellent reputation. Your mention of Come Dancing amused me. I am a former ballroom and latin champion having competed at top level. Plenty of sequins and stones in my home including a practice studio. Oh for those days again. Incidentally my cardiologist thought the intensive athletic level of performance over many years may have played a part in my AF initiation.

  • There is plenty of evidence that top class endurance athletes often give themselves AF as the work their heart has to do causes enlargement of the left atria which can result in the impluses getting confused. Another class who seem to get this problem is fast jet pilots (RAF fighters) one can guess due to fighting G force.

    BobD

  • That's interesting Bob. Could possibly have saved myself AF hassle if known. But then I would not have had the success and enormous enjoyment I gained through it. Life's a balance I guess, most probably I would have done it anyway - ah the exuberance of youth, can still remember it, just!

    Dee.

  • Yes and I'm deaf from 50 years of motor racing! Would not have changed it for the world.

    Bob

  • Maitha, I completely agree with your concerns, anxiety can be so subtle, it can be going on in the background without you noticing. I think it SO important to counter this with other methodologies which the NHS or the medical model just don't offer us. Psychology could be something that is automatically offered to AF sufferers, techniques in how to stop automatic thinking (CBT) are very simple to learn and practice. Taking more drugs is not the answer.

    Personally I have stopped an AF episode with EFT, doesn't always work but I find it very helpful. Daily practice of relaxation and/or meditation do help. I never let it stop me making trips, although travel insurance is becoming difficult.

    I hope you do take the trip and enjoy it, keep focussing on the positives in your life, it really is health giving, being appreciative about something, however small, can really change your perspective.

    And I know it is really hard.

    Love and appreciation for your wonderful contributions Maitha ..... xx

  • Thanks dear

    Appreciate your input

    Can I know what is EFT

    Currently I'm having SVT episodes I wonder if it may help me in controlling it

    All the best

  • Did you ask about the new agomelatine medication for AF anxiety, depression or sleep disturbance?

  • Never heard about it , Earlier Doctors diagnosed my case as panic attacks so I was on similar medication for about six months to then doctors diagnosed AF so they stopped it

    I will ask my doctor about your recommendation , but thank god I don't have sleeping problem if SVT didn't wake me up

    Yes I'm having anxiety due to frequent SVT after my ablation and I believe if it is stopped accruing I will be back to normal again hopefully

    Thanks for your kind response

    Regards

  • Your welcome. Dr's so easily under state the role of AF related anxiety and it's affect. Agomelatine is a new and novel approach to anxiety. I'm told its not addictive and is used to treat depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. You should also tell the dr that traditional anxiety, sleeping or antidepressant medication can actually cause AF or bring on attacks in AF sufferers where Agomelatine does not. You might have to be firm and assertive with the GP to get it but it's a safer and better option for AF sufferers. If the GP can't prescribe it ask him to refer you to a clinic who can.

    Good luck.

You may also like...