Are most AF afflicted people high achievers or trusts?

I read the posts on here daily and I am picking up that most people are busy, busy, busy. Does anyone know anyone who suffers from AF who is totally laid back and relaxed? I know myself, even though retired, never stop really. My husband says "Even when you sit, you have to knit!". Perhaps it is a complaint of perfectionists? I was diagnosed over 8 years ago. I had a very stressful working life and some family worries at the time. These issues are thankfully now resolved but I am left with this AF! Or perhaps it is the other way round and AF causes us to perpetuate this vicious circle. Be nice if I could slow down a bit! What do others think?

64 Replies

  • Hi Summarise - No, I don't personally know of anyone with AF who hasn't had a busy and stressful life.

    For me a divorce after 25 years, daughter living with extremely abusive man for 16 years and a stressful job certainly could have contributed to my AF. Also like you I've always been bit of a perfectionist, must have a tidy house and garden etc. Phew it's hard work doing all that on your own! I think I'm just beginning to realise that a tidy house and garden are really not that vital. Living life, meeting friends and getting out and about are far more important.

    It will be interesting to see what replies you get to your post.


  • Thanks Jeanjeannie50. I hope my title wasn't too misleading! Predictive texting.

  • Worked in Banking for 34 years and ran successful motor racing team at the same time. Lived on about 6 hours sleep or less for 20+ years often as little as 4 hours. Retired from banking at 52 in '97 and continue to build race engines and gearboxes and restore old race cars. All feels perfectly normal to me! AF finally diagnosed in 2004 after many years missed opportunities.


  • Ah BobD, always enjoy your posts, replies and advice. That is exactly what I mean, to us non stop is normal! Scary?

  • Can I ask what was the race team Bob? Used to know a few people in the trade.


  • Alfa Romeo Dealer Team running in British Touring Car Championship. We won up to 1300cc class in '81 and 2500cc class in 83 and 85 I think it was. Prior to that Sports Racing cars , Formula 5000 and special saloons going back to mid 60s. Still building Alfa and Coventry Climax historic face engines and helping sons to build drift cars.


  • Interesting Bob. I was off-track, rallying a V4 SAAB 96 with a works engine. Did a bit on track but only part of rallies.

  • Nice car be worth good money today!

  • Special Saloons! Now that brings back some memories. We used to sponsor the Doug Niven Boss Escort - fire breathing 7litre beast that was scarily fast but needed so much tickling and tuning. Doug was a cousin of Jim Clark and raced mostly at Ingleston and Northern circuits.

  • I helped build Reg Gubbins' Buick Anglia.

  • Sounds like an exciting combination, Bob! I can imagine when that is fired up it would cure anyone's AF!

  • I think I am a pretty laid back person but did have a lot if stress in my life in the past. However the issues causing stress were resolved many years ago and i was only diagnosed 2 years ago. I have always had problems sleeping. Also I smoked and liked a few too many drinks. So I suspect it can hit all types.

  • Very interesting, and exactly what I've been thinking.

    I ran an engineering company for 30+ years, and started/ran a software company for 10 years (at the same time). Worked 70-100 hours a week as a norm for decades. 150 staff. Hobbies were rock climbing, rallying and offshore yacht racing, anything dangerous really. Go, go, go all the time. My dad was similar and I reckon he had AF as well, and we're the only two with it in quite a large family, as far as I know anyhow.

    I reckon there's a strong link, not always but often or even usually. Changed everything when diagnosed, now everything's peaceful.


  • My Dad had it too I am sure. Suffered with "palpitations" and died a long miserable death suffering stroke after stroke after stroke. Funnily enough he was a racing mechanic for the racing driver, Jimmy Stewart, it was in the 50's and 60's. My sister still has all his pit badges.

  • Older brother of Jackie no less. Ecurie Ecosse?

  • Yes that's right. He ended up living in Stourbridge in the West Midlands and bought North Worcestershire Motors. He gave my Dad a job there running the Body Shop but they both spent most days in a pit under a racing car at his house in Stourbridge. Unfortunately Jimmy was not destined for a peaceful end either!

  • I remember him racing a DB4 Zagato Aston at Brands hatch. Jackie mentions a lot about Jimmy in one of his books. Tragic person.


  • My Dad has pit badges from Brands Hatch. He took us to a few races but my mother hated it. Whenever he was with Jimmy she would mutter "bloody motors" - he only came home when he was knackered!

  • I think you might have hit the nail on the hear here, but I would certainly not regard myself as a high achiever. Nor a trust, whatever that is!! I can't do nothing though - in the sense that I have to be doing something! I don't sleep enough. I'd like to be a perfectionist but aim too high most of the time. My house is untidy and never looks pristine - because one little bit has been very very thoroughly cleaned and then I got bored.

  • Sorry about title - typo.

  • By the way Rellim296, don't you think that's what a perfectionist is? We never think it's perfect even though people say it is!

  • No one has EVER suggested that our house is anything near prefect! Or perfect. And when visitors come I sometimes hide dirty dishes in the oven. Good memory required.

  • That's hysterical! Thanks. My daughter doesn't even use an address book-just writes down info on little pieces of paper. I've given her many dayplanners over the years. Have no idea where they go. I've had the same blue filofax cover for years-just refill yearly. If I lost it I'd be hysterical. I don't think Vivien is really my kid. Must have gotten switched in the nursery! But she's 50 y.o., healthy and no signs of a-fib!!!

  • Me again. Just wanted to add another "Vivien attribute." Her sense of humor. She has a button that reads, "MY MOTHER IS THE TRAVEL AGENT FOR GUILT TRIPS."

  • What a good idea. I wish I had thought of that. Under the bed and under the stairs are my faves! I have just spent a week looking for a cd player that I hid leading up to Christmas ( to get it hou of the way) it was under the bed of course but there was so much other stuff there I couldnt see it.

    Concerning the issue of high achievers. I wouldnt consider myself one of those but I have often been described as " high octaine"!

    I tried to run a family, afull time primary school teaching job, a stable yard with 4 competition horses and bossed my husband around....according to him. I dont think I did any of those things terribly well which added to my stress.

    I always thought I coped really well and enjoyed the adrenalin rush then suddenly the emotional stress of caring for elderley parents long distance, seemed to tip the balance and BINGO....AF. x

  • My body may look slow but don't be fooled; my mind is secretly in high gear. LOL

  • Maybe our activities aren't the main issue but how our mind tells us how correctly (or not) we're doing them are. Food for thought....

  • Hi Summarise. YES! We give ourselves impossibly high standards. I was recently in the hospital feeling lousy but sitting on the side of my bed straightening up my bedside table when my nurse came in and said "Why don't you just lie back and rest?" What a concept!LOL.

  • You know the saying. Dull women live in immaculate houses! Does that make you feel better?!

  • Definitely. If I kept our house really clean and tidy, there would be no time for anything else.

  • And I saw a wooden sign once on a coworker's desk: "A NEAT DESK IS A SIGN OF A SICK MIND." Her desk was a messbut she got lots done.

  • Good for you Rellim. I'm trying to let go of my 'house perfectionism'. Suspect it has something to do with 12 years in Catholic Boarding School (nuns always opening drawers to check neatness and the like) and then so many years working in the Operating Room where neatness re instruments and setups were king. I know my family gets irritated with me at times. Beginning to clear the table while people are still sitting & enjoyong conversation does not a good dinner party make!LOL.

  • last fifteen years looking after my mum due to chronic heart failure she also had AF and ended up on oxygen and not being able to do anything for herself she wasn't even able to take a shower on her own so sad. then after mum passed away I looking after my dad who had Alzheimers for seven years it was the most awful time it was heart breaking my dad was the strongest of men was a para in the last war fought in the battle of Arnhem which featured in the film ( A Bridge to far) he was also a prisoner of war in Germany. It was hard work physically But emotionally it was heart breaking watching him become a shadow of his forma self he didn't even know who I was at in the end and I found that so very hard he passed away 4 years ago this Wednesday and I still cant seem to slow down so whether It was the stress that brought on the AF or the fact my mum had it I don't really know but I am still active and I love to walk find it good for body and soul. hope my posts are ok I have dyslexia and have to spell check everthing it takes me a long time to write things sorry if they don't make sense sometimes

  • Oh Souljacs4 I feel for I really do. My Dad also disappeared as the person I knew after each stoke there was less and less of him. That's why I was so scared when I realised I may be going the same way. I don't think I have actually said any of this before I joined this site! perhaps this is a bit cathartic? BTW you didn't make any mistakes! X I make plenty but at the minute I am preparing Sunday lunch, undoing some crochet work I am not happy with and doing a Wordwheel!

  • Thank you Summarise I know what you mean about less and less my dad lost his speach and was unable to eat so very sad. I know what you mean about going the same way it is a concern but treatments are getting much better now.

  • As a specialist teacher of dyslexic children, I can tell you that you're doing fine. You are conscientious in a way I would like all my pupils to be, but no one knows better than I do the effort involved in spellchecking everything. I love it that your post is like a stream of consciousness and punctuation would only stifle it. Amazing how heart and soul is revealed when the mind runs free.


  • Jan you really dont know how much your lovely post means to me but then being in the job you are you probaly do. its people like you who make such a difference to people like me I didn't know I had dyslexia untill i was in my fifties I thought I was just stupid it is very hard on a daily basis dealing with this. my daughter who is 34 also has it but because I didnt know I had it she was never screened which i felt very guilty about. When she was little I would sit with her for hours and try and help her. her dyslexia wasn't picked up untill she was in the middle of her law degree. i happend to be watching a progamme on tv about dyslexia that mentioned how children with dyslexia sometime struggel telling the time and putting their shoes on the wrong feet which along with a lot of other things that were mentioned i wondered if she had dyslexia I went on goolge and there it was explained so we went along to the dyslexia center in cardiff where she was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia. in spite of all of that she has managed to become a solicitor and also did a masters in cardiff university in forensic linguistics. I am so very proud of her and what she has achieved and its nice to know that there is a lot more awareness of dyslexia now thanks to people like you.

  • That is sad about both you and your daughter....but look what you have achieved! With all my experience I would not have guessed you had a problem, and your daughter's success is just awesome! It's never too late to get help, I used to teach adults who needed to try for another step up the career ladder. And you must never feel guilty about your lack of knowledge about her disability. I'm positive you did everything to make her feel valued and special in spite of school problems.

  • I will keep these posts in my special file thank you

  • I like your posts and your way of expressing yourself.My brother was dyslexic and one of the most creative people I knew. He's gone now and I wish I had spent less time trying to 'organize' him. He did tend to scribble rather than write legibly. Would have made a good doctor, do you think?

  • That might be a good call Summarise.

    I used to tell people if I am awake I am working, and to be honest not much has changed even though I have now left the FD job I had and am only doing 3 others (different ones)

    And then a very busy life in other things means that I am often out for 15 hours a day and even at weekends catching up on what I did not manage to do in the week.

    Some interesting stories on here.

  • I know Beancounter, I was really touched by one or two of them. There does seem to be a recurring theme. Loads of people over the years have said "Slow Down" I never took any notice. As a PA to a Head at a very successful Grammar School life was full on and when I left they took on a couple of people to replace me and also a Clerk to the Governors which I used to do in my 'Spare Time'. Perhaps I should stop the Flecanaide and start smoking dope! Lol only joking of course!!

  • I don't know whether AF is an exception, but when it comes to general mortality, the idea that the stress of high status jobs leads to higher mortality and morbidity is a complete myth. Professor Michael Marmot is the leading light in this field, and his life's work all points to the fact that the stress of low status and powerlessness are what destroy people's health. It's also been shown that this effect occurs quite independently of wealth.

  • It is feeling helpless in the face of managerial pressure which is most destructive for many people I think. Impossible targets, constant meetings and pressure all remove any feeling of self worth and it is that I am sure which causes most illness in workers. The adrenaline junkies amongst us just push our bodies to the max. I always found I was ill when the pressure ended as at the end of the race season. I've mentioned before that fighter pilots are another group with a high incidence of AF presumably because they work their hearts hard combating force. Not sure we will ever understand the full gammit of AF but we are learning gradually.


  • I was ALWAYS ill during school holidays, even though I was on a full-time contract, the pressure lifted slightly during the breaks. It would have made more sense to have been ill during term time when a plethora of germs were circulating around the school but I never was, only in the holiday periods.

  • I certainly think there's something in it Summarise. I'm quite a laid back person, but do feel stress now and again through work. I work for a large IT company and up until very recently had a 110 mile round trip to work. I have also managed my stress through exercise. There is nothing like a run or a bike ride when I have things on my mind, I always feel better afterwards. Unfortunately at the moment I cannot exercise anywhere near what I would like to and from tomorrow I start a new role closer to home. It won't be a great start to my new role, as I have to inform them I have a Cardio appointment on Tuesday and I'm waiting an appointment to visit an Endo at a Thyroid clinic.

  • This reminds me of when ME was called "yuppie flu"' and was thought to be self-inflicted by a certain life-style. I hope we are not saying that AF is self-inflicted?

    While I am not a high-achiever, perfectionist or andrenalin junkie, my stresses relate to having to do too much of quite ordinary things, or things I would rather not do, and worrying about them.

    I detect a note of pride and maybe some degree of condescension to lesser mortals in some of the above posts.

    Ectopics post is interesting. The voice of the very poor is not heard much on this forum and I don't think it is because they are AF free. Many of the stresses described above are life-style choices.

  • Re third para.Not from me. I know what a pratt I have been .


  • Nor me. My 'having to do things perfectly' causes me a lot of anxiety-AND wasted time. I still take Xanax sometimes when my mind gets on overload about what I should be getting done. And most of it is not that important. Other people don't care. I think much of the time no one is really aware that I've straightened something up or not.It's just 'busy work'.

  • I think that at the time I was quite pleased with my apparent ability to juggle so many things at once but even at the time I knew that doing so many things affected my ability to do any one thing well. Now with hindsight I think I may have deliberately filled all my time so that I didnt have to think about and deal with issues. Anyway, now that I am retired, I have had to work very hard at switching off and relaxing. I find it very hard to just be . So, no, I can honestly say that I am not proud of my former life. X

  • Interesting. I was a head of a prep school, divorced ( very messy and stressy!) and bringing up 3 children without any support. I was also an elder of our church and ran children's work there. Decided to chuck up the headship and return to normal teaching. Re married a wonderful man and moved area. He describes me as a bumble bee, constantly frustrated that I can't sit still and rest. I flit from one job to the next. Was teaching part time and working as a volunteer with a charity and also on the leadership of church. Running the children's work and also doing a ministry course. Then I was really ill last year and it was finally diagnosed as having af. Have stopped the charity work and am now working 3 days a week. Still find it tricky to sit still! X

  • I read somewhere that we are all equipped to be epileptics but most of us have not had a fit. Perhaps everyone is equipped to go into AF and some of us have hearts that have discovered how to do it and the rest have not yet got started, perhaps because their lives are not jumbled up enough.

  • I like that quote "Their lives are not jumbled up enough"

    most AFers I know have, or have had jumbled up lives.....

  • I LOVE this witty post! Still laughing!

  • Im an incredibly relaxed and laid back person. However, years and years of extreme stress, one even after another, I am sure contributed to the onset of my AF. That combined with alcohol and drug abuse in my teens and early twenties. I have spoken to a few cardiologists who have agreed that these two factors are probably responsible.

  • Hi, always thought I was laid back, never worked harder than I had to at school, and enjoyed my nursing training, gave up work after my son was born , but went back for weekends when became financially necesary. Had high blood pressure, then had several family bereavements, but no more than lots of others. Aunt, uncle, mother and grandmother all had af, so think the genetic factor played biggest part for me.


  • Maybe I'm the exception that proves the rule, but throughout my working life, I've had annual reports from bosses of mine which contained references to my lack of drive and frequent comments along the lines of "could go a lot further if he wanted to". My attitude was always that if I was earning enough to ensure a decent standard of living then I was happy with that. I don't think I was a particularly stressed individual when I was first diagnosed with AFib, but, like most people I suppose, I do find that I'm more likely to have an episode if I am stressed.

  • Summarise

    Thanks for the original post.

    I think this is a really interesting subject which I assume there has been on research on.

    Whilst all of us who have or have had AF must have a genetic disposition to getting it, why dont other members of our close family? No other member of my family either past (as far as I know) or present has AF. One of my grandmothers died of a stroke so that is the nearest possibility but heart problems were never mentioned.

    As for me, am I a high achiever? Not particularly - fairly average I would say. Had a fairly successful career as an architect over the last almost 40 years and due to the stresses will be glad to retire in the near future. Am I a perfectionist? Certainly not in everything I do but I do like to do a job properly and get stressed when problems occur especially if they are not of my making.

    I think a contributory factor for me is that I hide emotions, internalise stress until a "boiling point" is reached. I think I am basically an introverted character who disguises this when required.

    Does anyone else have this characteristic and think that it could be a factor in getting AF?

  • Hi Davegm, I don't know if any research has been done on this but because I am an avid reader of posts on here, I just noticed that most, certainly not all, people who share some of their lives, seem to be of a certain type which I can totally relate to. I really can see where you come from with the stress of not being in control of a situation that finally is your responsibility. I find delegating extremely difficult and my life has been more difficult because of this. Also an inbred desire to please is not always in our best interests. My house is not pristine I can assure you but if it gets out of hand an AF is sure to follow! We can help each other a lot I think by sharing our thoughts on this condition, hopefully in positive ways.

  • I see a lot of your self-analysis in me. Think you're onto something.

  • I suspect laid back people with AF are doing just that and not joining forums to 'work' on their condition.....

  • I have had 3 pulmonary emboli in the past and one of them has stayed in my lung ever since. I have been told that this could be the trigger to my AF. I also have a dodgy gene which causes my blood to clot very swiftly and if my if my INR has been off course it has triggered AF. Last week I learned that two close relatives also have AF!! I think there are so many possible causes of AF that it is very hard to attribute it to any one thing in any one person. What is comforting about this forum is hearing about how you all cope with life in very difficult circumstances. Thanks to one and all for sharing your experiences and tips. I do appreciate it.

  • For me, I believe perfectionism and the anxiety we develop as children might be a recipe for not only afib but other illnesses/conditions down the road. Especially when we lose our ability over the years re what is worthy of elevated anxiety and what is not. This topic is a very interesting'can of worms'. I wish I didn't get so anxious over things I have no control over or that really don't matter. But I suspect this is the way I came off the assembly line and it probably won't change at this late date. As I've gotten older I've become better at acting calmer and not letting frustrationsetc. show. But inside my head things often continue to whirl around as fast as ever!!! Anybody else belong to 'my club???' A humorous aside: I once heard someone say (it might have been in one of Dr Phil's books but not sure: "The only good reason to yell at someone is to shout, 'Look out for the bus!'. "

  • Glad I tripped over this older thread. Found the topic in the box on the side (with a TODAY's hot topic lead). It's filled with truth and humor. Thanks everyone.

You may also like...