Introduction from AF sufferer - since 2012

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.

7 Replies

  • Thank you for sharing your story. You have inspired me as I am also on a renewed health kick to try and get fit and lose weight before my next ablation so thank you. I have found your post very uplifting. Xx

  • Hi! Welcome to the forum .

    Very well done in your weight loss. You have seen the difference this makes.

    It's a pity you aren't able to work full time as you would ( presumably!) be away from the food temptations .....unless you are a chef??

    What does your doc think about your low heart rate ?


  • Great first post. Thank you.

    Now that you have stated your intention to lose more weight it is a great incentive to continue. It certainly helps when Spring is just around the corner.

    You have done brilliantly so far. Good luck with your future endeavours.

  • OK Yatsura actually working away a lot and having access to hotel food was a disaster for me. The best routine for me is being at home and supervised by my wife.

    I have found the 5:2 diet the most succcesful of all I have tried over the years. I stick to 600 calories tues and thurs each week and then try and limit myself to 2000 calories on the other 5 days. For me it works as 24 hour diets twice a week is easier to handle than months of gentler calorie reduction. I can of course eat a lot more the 2000 calories a day given the chance but I am able to view 2000 as normal and not a diet.

    My 600 calories are a 60-90 calories yoghurt, a 60-90 calories soup a 350 calories evening meal say fish and salad, and the balance in milk with a few cups of tea.

    My understanding is the low heart is a consequence of keeping the AF under control rather than progressive heart failure, but it is a concern.

  • You are doing so well to take control of your weight when you get under 14 stone you will feel so much more alive im 5.11 13.13 trying to get down to 13 lost 16lb since xmass keep going i lost my weight by cutting out carbs good luck

  • Well done. Its time to stop blaming yourself for what might have been in the past and start congratulating yourself for the tremenlous amount of weight you have already lost. You owe it to yourself now to continue until you are at whatever weight you need to be. It may cure your A.F. and it may not but at the very least it will make your body much more able to cope with A.F. when it happens. Good luck.x

  • Hi Cristatus,

    As others have said, well done on the weight loss so far and just by setting out your objectives in your post you've immediately increased your chances of achieving them! (What's your target date for getting below 14 stone by the way?) Something that may help you to maintain control on your 5 days is to keep a food diary and log everything that you eat. I found that once you see it in black / blue and white, it makes a startling difference as there's no hiding the odd relapse!!

    Re the tiredness, there are various different medication options for AF and it's a matter of working with your medical team to explore the options and find what works best for you. Personally, I started on Bisoprolol which works great for some people but turned me into a zombie. My EP then switched me to Tildiem Retard, which removed the lethargy immediately and made me feel much more human. Other people find they don't get on with it. If you have concerns over the way that you are feeling on your medication, please do ask for a review to see if there is something else that you could try.

    Good luck!


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