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AF Association
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The enemy returns

I have been suffering a lot of stress lately mostly due to the attitude of my employer not allowing me to drive on their property which affects how I get to work. However since all this has started I've had another AF attack which lasted over an hour had really bad chest pains and admitted to AE GIVEN MORPHINE for pain which helped me to relax and then back into NSR my question is how does stress trigger AF?

4 Replies

Stress affects your entire body. The stress response was designed in our primitive brains to keep us from being eaten by the tiger on the trail, so to speak. So when we encounter stress all those same fight or flight functions happen....our blood pressure rises, our breathing quickens, heart rate increases, glucose is released from the liver for extra energy. Once our brain decides (that's the key) if something is stressful it also calls on the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. This is meant to be a short term response in our bodies. If we repeatedly do this, then we are stressing these organs, including the heart, and for people who already have the substrate for AF stress can and is often one of the triggers. It can be happy stress (parties, weddings, holidays) or bad stress (work issues, health issues etc). There will always be stress in life, it's the learning to deal with it in a healthy way that seems to take a lifetime to figure out.

Glad you went to A&E if you had chest pain. One can never be too careful when chest pain is involved. Try to breathe deeply and set out to learn some better ways to cope with stress . Be well.

1 like

Thanks for your reply, I have now been signed of sick for two weeks the Dr said I need to rest and try to relax, I was so wound up she said I'm not fit to work with all the stress and the AF coming I was in no mood to argue with just pleased to get away from work. Boss not to happy as stress related illness is the resposabilty of the trusts duty of care need I say more?

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John, I hope you make good use of this two weeks to try to find a way to de-stress. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga all are amazing stress busters as is whatever level of exercise you are able to do. It is a real process to learn to respond to stress in a more healthy way, but eventually a new response can become automatic. There are very few situations now where I allow myself to get all 'in a ti', but when I do I can limit it to moments, not hours or days as was my pattern before. Wishing you peace and calm.


I'll second Grandma's suggestion as soon as I get out of Pretzel Pose.


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