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Another Weekend, another bout of AF.

For the past 4 weekends now I have gone into AF. The period has ranged from 6 to 36 hours. Currently I'm still out of NSR and hoping my increased dosage of Flecainide will pull me out. I really don't know what's causing it. I've been fine on my drugs for ages with only the odd episode in about 8 months. I'm a very active 43 year old and I do exercise quite a lot through the week, but it's like my AF knows it's the weekend and flips me. I know people believe their AF could be related to the Vargal nerve, well I didn't think mine was. However, twice my AF started after drinking cold water and once after eating a large meal. My previous episodes have been pretty much asymptomatic, however when I went into AF yesterday I struggled with my breathing. I went out for a walk and felt like I'd be on one of my training runs. Is this a sign of my AF progressively getting worse? Could it be my dosage of Flecainide needs increasing? I know I need to discuss this with my a consultant and I will. It's just I thought I was managing my condition, but the begger is getting the upper hand.

Jason

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Sorry to hear you are unwell- do you think you may be overdoing the exercise during the week?

The CareAF website ( link is on front page of the AFA website) gives some good advice re moderate exercise.

hope it stops soon,

best wishes,

Rosemary

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I agree with Rosy regarding exercise. Also my understanding is that if your AF is adrenergic a light walk might help, if it is vagally induced (as is mine) the walk makes mine worse. I am sure a few others will add into this thought.

I notice the difference between my workouts during the week and then rest on the weekend. I have vagally induced afib and I go into afib 95% of the time due to a decrease in the vagal tonicity -meaning when I relax, mostly at night or after a meal at night. Mine began almost always on the weekend when I was relaxing and not eating a breakfast and then a meal at lunch of afternoon. Too much vagal activity followed by calm.

As for the flecainide, it always worked for me as a pill in the pocket method until lately. I am not increasing the meds as I feel they do stop the big episodes but in my case I feel over the fours years it has increased the instability of my heart. That is a personal thought perhaps only relative to me though my EP has begun to agree.

Meds are a tough call, how much to take, how often, and if and or when they cease to work. Best to talk it over with your EP until you find the relief you seek. I hope you find some peace soon!

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I discovered that artificial sweeteners were causing my episodes of AF. Are you eating anything different at the weekends? It does seem strange that you have had AF for the last 4 weekends.

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I seem to get them more at weekends too, I wonder why ? I have done very well this week though, as I have been out and about four times ! Mon, Wed, thurs, and Friday that is the most I have done for a long time ! I have had a bit of a wobbly day today (sat) but I suppose that is to be expected after my busy week :) X

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I find that sitting for long periods can set my AF off too. I always feel so much better if I'm more active. Could your attacks be because you are not getting much exercise at weekends?

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I honestly cannot pinpoint what is causing the attacks JeanJeannie. It's not over indulgence as such, as the past three weeks I have been so very careful. I do tend to exercise on a Saturday and leave Sunday as a rest day. However, over the past 5 weeks 2 have happened on a Friday, 2 on a Saturday and 1 on a Sunday. This last one finished at 8am this morning and is the longest I have experienced. I've also noticed I am becoming more and more breathless whilst having an episode. Here's to next weekend

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Good point ! Maybe it's because you have more time to think about things when you are sitting about and not doing anything much ? I always like to keep busy if I can, I knit while watching telly or sort somthing, I have just untangled two chain necklaces tonight while watching telly. I am a reader and I also do counted cross stitch but have not been in the right frame of mind for that recently. I also do jigsaws, I like to play games on my computer and keep in touch with friends via Facebook. Even if I am not going out I try to get up early to catch the morning rays, morning sun between 7am and noon is 10 times better for you than afternoon sun apparently.

it contains more vitamin D in the morning :) I sit on a stool on my doorstep for at least half an hour if it is a nice morning. I will then come in and have breakfast, even if it is only tea and toast. Sometimes I will watch a bit of telly or read, If I have letters to do then I read my Emails and do some office work. In winter I have a light box instead of the sunshine. I try to get out in an afternoon if I can, even just around the block for a little walk. :)

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just had another thought- is your resting pulse quite low?- often it is if you are fit and exercise a lot? It's just when i was reading about vagal AF I found one article that said the heart rate drops just before AF starts - of course goes up after AF begins) and I just wondered if the exercise during the week is keeping the rate up and then it drops at the weekend- just a thought and it may be good to do moderate exercise every day- worth a try to see if it helps??

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Hi Jason, Sorry to hear that your weekends are not fun. I used to have the same issue, though not every weekend. When I had an episode of AF it was always a Friday or Saturday night. I just thought about what was different, and it was often being excited and happy about a dinner with friends, or a later, heavier meal, or having a glass of wine, or getting less sleep. I set about to change it. For me, I could feel my blood pressure go up in those situations so, I started to dose my BP meds when they would have peak effect at that time; I made sure I ate less, avoided alcohol, and let nothing interfere with my sleep. It worked! Additionally, over the past 6 months I have lowered my blood pressure significantly, reduced inflammation in order to be heart healthy by changing my diet. I have become much more relaxed always, sleep better than ever, and have returned to the weight I was when I was in my 20's by losing 10% of my body weight. My AF is quite dormant for now with only a few hours of it in the past few months. See what works for you and good luck to you. Don't be discouraged!

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Not really relevant to the opening post in this thread I'm afraid, but I had something similar to you which prompted my decision to stop drinking alcohol. I'd got to the stage where my only drinking would come on a Saturday night when I would have a couple of pints of real ale which had a lower alcohol content than most sold nowadays, but, I still went into AFib on three successive Sunday mornings, not only that, it happened at exactly the same time (11 am)! Now I can't help thinking that, for the third week at least, it happened because I was expecting it to, but, although stopping drinking hasn't brought an end to my AFib episodes, it did stop the ones I was getting every Sunday morning at 11 o clock!

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Snap…..I have done almost exactly the same, consistency and such action is boring but a huge relief (no episodes for 3+ months on 200mgs Flec/day) and yes I am also back to my weight at 18.

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Way to go orchardworker! Boring is so much better than AF. NSR is joyfully boring!

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Thankyou Grandma, that sounds very interesting. I might give all that a try as I need to do something to get my life back on track. I've been ill too long and it simply isn't good enough :( My life has been on hold for 8 months and I have had enough of being a breathless vegatable :(

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Thank you all for your advice and words of wisdom. Having had several conversations over the weekend with friends (Not medical I hasten to add) and going over my past month of episodes, they did suggest maybe cutting back on the exercise for a short while to see if there is any improvement. This is easier said than done for me, as it is something I have done since being a kid. My pastimes all involve running, jumping, tumbling, kicking and thumping. I have certainly cut back from what I was doing 5 years ago and will reassess once I have spoken with somebody in the medical profession. My diet is pretty good and even though I haven't cut alcohol out completely I do take it within moderation. Over the past month I did have one heavy weekend after attending a wedding and when I had an episode I wasn't surprised, however the past three weekends have been relatively quiet and like Tobw commented about the timings of his episodes mine weren't to far apart. Two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday only hours apart. I find SRMGRANDMA's comment regarding BP interesting as the past two times I have had my BP taken, it's only just been within the accepted limits. I mentioned this to the consultant the last time I saw him and he said if I had access to a BP machine I should monitor and keep a record, something I think I will do. One of the Arrhythmia nurses was surprised at my BP as she was aware of my exercise regime. She did say it was in the healthy scale, but higher than expected.

Thank you all again for your comments.

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I have a blood pressure monitor and I use it most days and keep a note of the readings. My Bp isn't too bad but my pulse rate is really high which is causing the breathlessness. I don't know how to reduce it as beta blockers don't agree with me and I have been told not to take them, thank goodness, I hated them like I hate the warfarin that I have to take. I think taking all this stuff stresses me out and doesn't help my condition but I daren't stop taking it :(

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Make that 5 weekends on the trot. I'm getting really frustrated now. Sat at work having pretty much a carefree day and I get a water from the cooler. 1 minute later I start to feel the flutter in my chest and I'm back in AF. I contacted the consultants office on Monday, but he is on leave. I explained myself to his secretary who has booked me in for an appointment. In the meanwhile she consulted with one of the other Doctor's who advised me to increase my Flecainide to 100MG twice a day. As my attacks tend to be during the day I thought I would take 100MG in a morning and 50MG at night, as I didn't really want to up my dosage without speaking to my Doctor. I'm absolutely bemused as to why I have an attack at a weekend. My eating has been healthy, I have exercised, but not to the level I have been and my AF still wants to come out and play.

I know there is the medication v ablation debate and I have been on the medication side of the fence with the remit if it is working for me, then I'm happy to carry on. However, 5 weekends on the bounce with an attack has worn me down. I think it is time to think about an ablation.

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Bear in mind the fact that most EPs have a waiting list. You can always say you are happy as you are (if you are) when you are in the queue for an ablation. If you feel you are not happy with your situation it's not easy to move forwards quickly unless you want to dip your finger in your pocket. I wish I had seen my EP earlier than I did.

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