AF Association
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Please help...I'm scared!

Hi I am Anna I am 29 and was diagnosed on Saturday as having AF. Since December I have been experiencing symptoms as a sudden heart pounding, dizziness, difficulty breathing and sweating it normally lasts a couple of minutes like a panic attack almost but so suddenly. Usually when I am tired of stressed. Saturday was the first time that my heart didn't go back into rhythm soon after and I ended up in a&e. Does anyone else experience this feeling when it first happens? Can anything be done to help it?

Thanks so much!

33 Replies

Hi Anna, yes indeed it is very frightening when it first happens I experience all of the above signs and symptoms. I hope it's reassuring in some way to you that you have been diagnosed quickly, for myself it took a long time to capture it and told that I was panicking and there was nothing wrong. As soon as it was found I was referred to an electro physiologist who specialize specifically with electrical activity of the heart (rhythm) as cardiologist deal with plumbing ect.... the first line of treatment is medication further monitoring if this is uneventful or hard to tolerate there are other options, I'm grateful to live in this wonderful age of technology, there are advances in treatment happening all the time and research, I find that reassuring, also talking to others on the forum is a great help knowing your not alone.... I'm in my early thirties, I felt shocked when I was first diagnosed as I thought this was something more senior people got ( sorry older guys)! I really do understand how scary it all feels, we are all here for you to try and help and reassure :-) Charlotte


Hi Anna and welcome to the forum. We all know exactly how you feel so you are in good company. Many of us have had AF on and off for years so the first thing to say is that it is a long journey and you need to understand that there are no quick fixes. Drugs can help, either rate control drugs to slow your heart during attacks or rhythm control drugs to try to stop it happening. There is also a procedure called ablation which has a good chance of success but lets not get ahead of ourselves here. AF is not life threatening but it feels like it sometimes. You need to see the right type of doctor. Gps' are not always up to speed on the matter and quite a few cardiologists are not much better. Electrophyiologists are cardiologists who specialise in electrical problems in the heart and are the best people to see . First off go and talk to your GP and also discuss if you are at risk of stroke as AF is one of the prime causes of stroke. AT your age and provided that you have no other health problems I doubt that you are at risk but good to discuss it.

The other thing you should do is read as many of the fact sheets available on the main website as possible as knowledge is power and if you know a bit about the subject you can hold your own with doctors who other wise may talk down to you.

Good luck but do ask any questions and we will do our best to answer.



Welcome Anna

Can't add anything to Bobs answer so just saying hi



Thanks very much. It's so good to know that I am not alone x


Hi Anna - ~Welcome to the forum. Have you had lots of these attacks e.g. monthly, 3 monthly. Do you feel as though you are going to pass out with it? Also do you feel sick?


Hi Anna sounds like PAF - Paroxymal AF, which will come and go, keep hydrated with cold drinks as they help to allevaite the AF. Also eat a banana each day to help your maintain your potassium level. Try to keep calm and take your meds regularly. Remember you are not alone there are loads of us with varying degrees and differing types / stages of AF mediaction are you taking? Luckily I have PAF and take Bisoprolol and Rivaroxabn.




Welcome , being scared is natural but a quick diagnosis is brilliant. Bobs advice is good. This forum is good for support, we all have varying symptoms but a common diagnosis. Usually someone answers . Take care


I can only add my welcome... You've come to the right place for support. I have found myself that my symptoms have got better as I've begun to understand that the episodes are frightening but not life-threatening. I know for me the fear itself made the AF symptoms worse, and you may find that now you know what it is and you're being treated, it won't seem so bad. I hope so anyway! Take care.


Hi Anna, I am newly diagnosed and everyone on this forum are fantastic, real life savers in my opinion. There is also a patient helpline who have also been a great support to me and offer great advice. Hope you get the medication and treatment you need very quickly. My first tablets did not suit me so do not be afraid to speak up. Symptoms vary and can take you by surprise I can relate to your experience as I ended up in A&E at the weekend. Chin up.


Don't be scared but do be assertive. You don't say who diagnosed you but now you need some answers, ideally from an EP or arryhmmia specialist. I have not found cardiologists to be a lot of use. You do have a way to go before you work out how to manage it so just go with it, get anti coagulised asap so you are safe. Don't be frightened of it, listen to it and it will tell you how to manage it along with your EP. I have had three abaltions and numerous cardioversions (due to misdiagnosis) so at least you have caught it early. I was in my mid forties when diagnosed and they said 'young' and really pulled everything they could out of the bag. I work more than full time and have 9 ponies and 3 donkeys to look after. It was a long road but I am pretty good now as long as I don't run or climb neither of which I wanted to do before diagnois!! I found it was worse when stressed. I also find deep breathes always help and keeping still in attacks - but we are all different and you'll find out what works for you.

My only regret - I didn't make enough fuss about it early on!


Hello Anna I am Dinos from Greece . First of all and remember that never you will not die from your heart . All here we have the same problem. I am 40 years old and I had 2 episodes . Advice ... No stress , relax you will see you will pass it and if you had again the same you will learn how you can control it . Take a big kiss from me and go on .


Hi Anna, I just wanted to add my welcome too. This is a great forum and the others have already given great advice. I'm 37 and think I've had persistent AF (24/7) for years and it was only recently diagnosed after a random pulse check. I'm learning to live with it and now I'm aware and clued up on it, I feel safer. Am also now on warfarin to lower risk of stroke - worth doing and I've had no side effects. Good luck on your journey and let us know how you get on :) x


Just saying hello. Everything has been said. Come on here and chat anytime. There's nearly always someone around!! Best wishes Wendy


Hiya Anna, just to say welcome to this forum and all the wonderful people on here, it's like one big happy family and as someone else sai,there is always someone who will answer your questions. Keep well



Good morning Anna

Just letting you know this is what happened to me last August and I was fine the next day did not think anything about it got on with my 25th anniversary party. After the party in the early hours of the morning it happened again and my heart did not go back to normal for 2 days. I was feeling very tired and my daughter tooK me to the doctor who after doing an ECG sent me straight to the hospital to the cardio ward. I was admitted and after doing several tests and giving me meds through an IV the next day my heart was back to normal. So I was sent home with what they call a pill in the pocket in case it happened again. Well it happens 2 weeks later the pill did not work called the hospital who told me to call an ambulance, who came within 5 mins. They took me to the hospital and I was given meds through IV again and within 5 mins my heart was back in normal sync. Then the following morning while in hospital I got told by the professor Cardiologist that I have PAF.. It comes and goes. I got put on beta-blockers and clopidogel (not warfarin) cause I am not at risk of having a blood clot. And must admit have been fine since. It was very frightening and a major shock to me and my body. I thought was going to die. They did a 2 part perfusion scan and 24/48 hour ECG's found nothing else wrong with me so I am doing fine. I just got discharged from my cardio clinic and have to stay on my meds. I am 46 years of age. And getting on with my life. I thought I was going to die but after a lot of reading on PAF mine is under control I am ok. There are people on this site who are worse than me but still ok with meds and ablations. So you are right to be on here everybody will help you go through what they are all experiencing. Although everyone is different and may not got through the same as another person and their meds. So you will be ok once you have been sorted by the heart specialist. Take care and all the best


Hi Anna, I went down with AF 10 years ago, got it real bad. Probably had it on and off for 20 years in hindsight. Ended up in a coronary ward for 8 days whilst they tried different drugs. They found one that worked and it was perfect but made my memory poor. So after 2 years I had an ablation which kept me clear for 8 years without drugs. Now got something coming back a bit, and again have found another drug which is working well and I feel great. The drugs are very personal and you need the one that works for you.

Do get referred to an EP is the big advice.

Best wishes



Cinkler, are you on meds, warfarin or had ablation? I'm intrigued to know, what do you do to control your symptoms, I'm due to have pulmonary vein isolation in the coming weeks and fear it might make me worse or something might go wrong, how do you view this :-)


Hi Anna2014

Now you know why we all love this sight and the people on it. Nothing to add just take note of what everyone else has said. You will start to feel less scared.

Thanks everyone


Site not sight, of course. What a plonker!


Hello Anna. By now I hope you are feeling reassured by the replies you have had. I've had Paroxysmal AF for nearly seven years, but I can still remember how scary it was the first time I had it. It's not as bad once you realise that you aren't going to drop dead any minute and I found one of the hardest things about it to be that AF is not an easy thing to understand if you haven't got it - people are sympathetic, but only to a degree.

That's why places like this are so good. I only posted on here for the first time last week, but it was so heartening to get responses from people who obviously knew what I was going through - just remember that, although it might seem like it at times, you are never truly alone.



Hello Anna2014

I have not been posting for long it's wonderful to get the help we need, you will get the same kind of care I'm having your not alone. We have many things to learn about this problem we all share, you and I will get there in the end !




for what it’s worth I had Afib for 2.5 years, I tried all kinds of medications, vitamins, different foods, I’ve practiced yoga for some 8 years previous to being diagnosed, I’ve drank mineral water, eaten bananas, avoided cold drinks, and 1001 other stuff along the way, avoiding stress which is impossible if you live in the real world IMHO, what’s stressful to one person isn’t to another that’s a fact of life!

For me the reality was none of this crap worked, it made me enormously feel guilty that I’d somehow caused the disease and gave me false hope that I could “cure” it….yeah right ….. the only thing that “cured” it was having an ablation, if it was as easy as drinking water eating, banana’s, vitamins, or whatever, the solution would be all so easy and we’d all be fixed instantly overnight, this is just my view, and I’m sure there maybe a few lucky individuals who will find relief by other methods……but good luck


Another welcome, your not alone. First time I posted here I was in hospital and thought I was going to die. It was ONLY AF and some strangers from here helped talked me down. My advice, do everything you can to reduce your stress levels, stop smoking (if you do) and cut right back on the drink. I allow myself 1 or 2 units a week.

Read, study and learn as much as you can about this condition.

Stay well

Ps - I'm 43


Hi AnnaI think every thing has been said I,ll just add my welcome and remember anxiety has a lot to do with AF so i know its hard but always try to stay calm and relaxed good luck


welcome ,and I hope you are feeling much better now


Hi from me too. You're in a good place in this forum. people here have helped me no end over several years. keep sharing.



HI Anna. Just joined myself! great to know Im not a crazy person. Am 36 and was diagnosed in dec12 with AF. Had an underlying valve and heart failure problem which caused my heart to enlarge and stretch and so lose the rhythm. Had my surgery one year today ( Valentines Day 2013) so bits and pieces fixed and a maze procedure, Cardioversions and 2 ablations, the last of which was 2 weeks ago and im already feeling the benefit. You will get sorted - it just takes time and patience. You will have a lot of "stop the world and let me off" days. rest yourself and dont worry bout the housework!!. Also, women of our age who take Warfarin or other thinners need to be aware of anaemia due to blood loss so keep an eye on your iron levels! Take care xx


hi anna

My advice from someone who did not get diagnosed until it was too late, and AF had become permanent.

1) When it happens DO NOT panic, if it is normal AF it is unlikely to do anything than take you into panic mode, make you sweat, feel dog rough. Stay calm, at all times. Think nice thoughts. Relax (hard i know but its important)

More importantly, you need to face this head on.

1) The sooner that CARDIOVERSION can be arranged the better. It is a simple fact that the sooner you can be converted back into a normal heart rhythm the better the chance of beating it early on.

That is either by medication, or by electrical. That will be up to your Cardiologist. But apart from maybe having been placed on to Warfarin (no big deal), to reduce possibility of a stroke (so very important), you should not leave this alone and make sure you keep any follow up appointments, and of course come to this forum, where there is a wealth of first experience.

Hope my input may help.


hi anna welcome to the forum. there are many of us who have and are still going through this problem. firstly see your gp and ask to be seen by a cardiologist, don't take no for an answer. there's no much more I can say, BobD has given you all you want to know. do keep in touch with this forum as most of your answers can be found here. best wishes


Hi Anna just thought I would give you some positive feedback with my story.

My name is Andrew I am 36 I was diagnosed with PAF in November 2012. I spent 8 months going from Cardiologist to Cardiologist until I found Cardiologist that was also an EP that specialized in AF; he told me I had two options drugs or surgery. I didn’t want to be on drugs for the next 50 years so I took the surgery option, I had an ablation in September 2013. Two weeks after the ablation I was going in and out of AF which shattered me, I thought the operation was unsuccessful I was told this was normal after the op and was put on meds to control the AF for 2 weeks. I was taken off the meds after two weeks and have been free of AF since and hope it stays that way. It’s hard to give advice because the outcome can be so different, but if had to give advice it would be to go to as many cardiologist/EP as it takes until your completely satisfied and comfortable.

All The best



Wow you guys are fantastic......thank you so much!!

I live in guernsey and unfortunately all we have over here is a cardiologist! I will enquire further when I see him into maybe travelling to the uk? I am currently not on any medication, just been given the pill in the pocket to take if needed.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my message, I really appreciate it! X


Hi Anna I live on the Isle of Wight and have the same problem of being surrounded by water but not quite so far to travel. I am new to the site also but have been advised to push to see and EP. My GP not keen but I will persevere. It is really scary but 'talking' helps. Good Luck - may see you at Southampton General which has many good Cardiologists.


Hi Anna, welcome, hope your feeling better xx


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