I've just came across this community today and am cramming as many posts and responses as I can! It's so good to hear from people with similar issues to myself.
A bit about my background. I'm a 42 year old female and I got diagnosed with AF about 7 years ago. Back then, I was very fit and did a lot of extreme sports - rock climbing, mountain biking.
The AF didn't affect me too badly, and I opted not to medicate. I did try beta blockers, but I found they slowed me down to the point that activity was really affected. Nor did they prevent the heart from going into AF. I didn't have permanent AF. It would maybe go off a couple of times a week.
Over the years, I noticed the periods of arrythmia getting longer and more frequent. In August 2013, it went into AF permanently. Being a stubborn sort of person, I didn't seek medical attention for it. Bit by bit, I began to really struggle with exercise and even walking. The turning point was when I couldn't even walk a short distance and narly blacked out. Fairly sure my body had gone into shock. I ended up in hospital and started taking a number of meds. The pulse was above 170 for weeks. I had fluid on the lungs. Not good. Eventually they got the heart rate coming down and let me out.
Since then, progress has been slow but sure. I've came off dijoxin and verapmilol (sorry - spelling is rubbish!) I stopped taking amiodarone as I'm sure it made me put on about 5kg. I remain on bisoprolol and warfarin. I have no idea what the intention of my cardiologist is but I have no desire to remain on medication should there be a procedure that may help. To be honest, the meds aren't stopping the episodes. they have helped stabilise, but the heart can still pop way up, as well as crash to as low as 30bpm. This is a daily occurence, usually in the afternoon.
What I am really struggling with is trying to get back to fitness and enjoy doing the sports I love. During the last few months, it feels as though my muscle strength and stamina have collapsed on me, and it's a long, hard battle trying to get it back. I've ben plugging away at the gym. I've managed up a hill (a real challenge). the body and muscles just burn. I am making progress, but it feels painfully slow.
My question is this: has anyone out there had this problem, and overcame it?
Many thanks for taking the time to read it. AF has made me feel very isolated. Family and friends have been brilliant, but none of them really seem to understand it. I think a lot of people assume it's heart disease. Apparently I have a strong, healthy heart, which is the main cause of my problem. It's stubborn, and once it goes into AF, it's capable of staying there!