My AF story

Firstly I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Ian and I am 53 and live in Worcestershire UK. I have played many sports all my life still play Cricket each year even with the hindrance of having dodgy knees, a bad shoulder and bad back. I have had operations on my knees and shoulder from general wear and tear and I recently tweaked my back by lifting something too heavy over my head.

I started the C25K app to hopefully maintain a certain level of fitness which I believe will help me carry on playing cricket for a few more years. I am currently W6D1 to do on Monday.

Whilst looking at the C25K forum I looked at all the other forums and noticed an AF forum.

My AF history is as follows

I was ambulanced to hospital with the Blues and Twos going late one night about 4 years ago as I had woken during the night with my heart trying to escape from my chest with what I assumed was a heart attack but diagnosed as AF..

I had blood tests, Ultrasound tests, ECG’s, weekly heart rate monitoring etc Angiogram and an Echocardiogram. I was diagnosed with AF and given advice by my GP on the triggers and some medication options which from memory was a ‘pill in the pocket’ to take during an episode and some kind of steroid which I reluctantly tried but didn’t like the side effects so stopped taking it within a week.

So that’s a little bit about me and why I am in the C25K forum and this AF one.

I appreciate everyone is different and everyone wants different things but I still get a couple of AF attacks a week, usually when trying to get to sleep, and to be honest I just tell myself they will stop within 20 seconds or so and they do.

I know that if I drink alcohol and or caffeine and get stressed then it might increase the AF attacks but I still get them having not had any of the above for a while and I don’t necessarily get them if I do indulge in the above so for me it’s a bit of hit and miss.

I don’t currently see a doctor about it, never knew there were any forums about it (until now, thanks to joining C25K) nor tend worry about it - I just live with it and try to forget about it..

Thought I’d post my AF story in case it might sound familiar with anyone else.

To be honest having read through some of the articles in the forum I was thinking about reminding my new doctor (moved house about 2 years ago) that I have AF and to make sure they were happy with the way I am handling things.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me

Ian B

14 Replies

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  • Hi Ian and welcome to the forum from another Ian

    You've obviously seen a cardiologist (angiogram) so why are you not still seeing them?

    Your GP cannot really treat AF, he/she simply will both not know enough about it, or even has access to the facilities and even some of the drugs needed to treat it (Yes there are exceptions, but Matt Fay is not a typical GP I regret to say)

    There are two problems with carrying on as you are, firstly and if you've read this forum then you will understand that the real risk of AF is stroke, and 53 or not and CHADS2VASC probably scoring zero, with two attacks a week I would certainly be considering an anticoagulant. You need to read and understand the risk you are taking here.

    The second is what damage are you doing to your heart, untreated AF does a number of things, it firstly can cause the left atrium to enlarge (cardiomyopathy) and it cans also cause electrical "scarring" of the pathways between the atria and the ventria. Effectively the signal telling the lower part of your heart to beat can eventually take the now well worn (and wrong) path of AF rather than the correc path which puts you in NSR (Normal Sinus Rhythm) And this is very hard to reverse.

    You need ideally to see an EP (electrophysiologist) and discuss the treatment options, ablation gets harder the longer you have had AF, but of course you need to balance the risk/reward of such a procedure and you need an EP to help you do this.

    Lastly read read read about AF, we are all different it's a real mongrel condition but the AFA website has oodles of great information and of course there are rouhgly 2000 peeople here who have "been there, had it, done it and know about it" Ask away

    Be well

    Ian

  • Great advice Ian, Will be making an appointment with my GP on Monday with a view to getting a referral to a specialist just to get a check up and to discuss options. I'm still not too concerned about it but will get peace of mind which is half the battle from the stress side of the triggers.

  • Get GP to refer you to an EP (Electrophysiologist). Do some research on the main AFA website about where the EPs are. Your nearest hospital might not have an EP.

  • Ian has said it all to you Ian. You're clearly not letting AF interfere with your life which is admirable but the truth is, silently, it probably is. It really isn't a condition you can ignore even if it doesn't seem to be affecting your day to day life. See an EP and discuss your options.

  • Hi there Ian B. I think "the way I am handling things" speaks volumes.

    We need to be in charge ourselves and remind GPs and consultants, people who make routine appointments or file test results and take ECGs of our needs and requirements. It is up to us to be informed, ask for and keep copies of our records. It's easy to get lost and we need a finger on the pulse, so to speak.

  • It would be lovely to think that you could self manage this without medication but I personally think you should definitely tell your GP and would also urge you to see the Cardiologist again. As you can see from our comments most of the meds have side effects and as none of us are getting any younger it is possible that your episodes get more frequent and you're again in the position of waiting for the blue light to take you in and get your heart back into rhythm. I would treat your episodes as a wake up call and get them medically managed.

  • What is C25K ?

  • my E P said A F is more common in sports men or women, i've been sports man for 40 years trying to keep fit, now got A F, wish i sat and watched T V instead of going gym, might not have A F now.

  • I used to play loads of sport until almost 33 when I was in a car crash and that put a stop to that. For the previous 15 years to that played loads of squash and also hockey (including a lot indoors). Previously loads of tennis. However I ended up being diagnosed with persistent AF at just 60 though it had started some time before that but not sure when. Just the (bad) luck of the draw!!!

  • yes, not fair mate

  • Just the [bad] luck of the draw

  • played good standard sport all my life would not have done anything different only live once its not a rehearsal the luck of the draw that is my outlook on living with AF others who love there sport would feel the same its not nice living with it i think about it every day for about 5 mins then get on with life shame we cant find a cure ps this is my 5 mins thinking about it

  • My sentiments exactly.....but am going back to GP for a chat/referral as its been a couple of years since anyone had a poke about

  • hope it alls well jog on

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