Hi all I am 53 and male and I guess my story will be familiar.
My first awareness of AF was after going to A&E feeling extremely fatigued and dreadful. 5 days later and two failed cardioversions later I was sent home with various medications. The next few months saw several other trips and hospital stays usually just overnight or a couple days plus one more cardioversion that also failed. Then I saw a private specialist at Papworth and was put on Flecanide which was better and kept the AF controlled at least some of the time. He then suggested an ablation and I have since had that procedure twice but unfortunately having reduced the Flecanide dose after 3 months the AF returned. So I am left on Felcanide indefinitely and the AF mostly under control. When not under control I am unable to work or drive and find it difficult to much at all due to the general fatigue that results.
Now about the longer term history. I have been overweight since my early 20s (much to my shame and regret) and was approaching 21 stone by the time I was 48. I managed to lose 2 stone having been shocked at the scales passing 20 stone, I had been shocked of course at earlier milestones! But still failed to act.
Then I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea (SA) shortly after in 2010. Now SA and AF do seem to be related and often associated with obesity. So I only have myself to blame.
I do have heart desease but not angina.
So I decided to try and lose weight and improve fitness. I have managed to do both to a degree at least I managed to lose 5 stone in total by 2014 but have put about a stone back on so I am now 16.5 stone - still just obese at 5'10". I am much fitter with regular gym visits and walking. The good news is by losing the weight I have found the SA has been cured. This is great as the treatment is not the most convenient - CPAP - for those that do not know you wear a face or nose mask with pumped air to keep your air way open whilst asleep. SA means many times during the night the sufferer stops breathing. It is still not well known as a condition. It is associated with snoring and being overweight, e,g, one testr for a man is your neck more than 16" - mine was 18.5" when diagnosed - now back to 16" and I am cured. However, I consider myself a food addict as every day remains real struggle to eat well. I have considered weight loss surgery in the past but did not proceed. I guess it remains an option.
I do think I had probably had both SA and AF for sometime before either were diagnosed, with SA at least this could have been many years.
For the last 2 years I have only been able to work part time as my heart rate at rest is 45 to 50 which means I am often tired and fined the travelling and long days I used to do impossible to cope with.
My cardiologist does not recommend further ablations and I even saw another renowned Cardiologist in Liverpool who agrees.
So what is next for me - well continue the daily battle to restrain my food intake and keep up the exercise and hopefully lose further weight over the coming months. My aim is to lose 2.5 stone and get below 14 stone. Still not thin but that would be 6 stone less than my heaviest a few years ago.