New diagnosed

I have just been diagnosed with AF at age 74 having been extremely fit and healthy .Still in shock and in fear. I would welcome any comments on whether I should still walk my daily 4 miles,during which the AF attacks started,as I have only done 3 miles once during first 9 days of being diagnosed.Have always taken vitamin E,over 40 years along with many other herbal supplements and thought that I would never get any such problems,never eaten red meat or fast junk food.In short followed a very healthy lifestyle.What now?

25 Replies

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  • Read all you can about AF from the AF Association website and you will find that it is not the end of the world. It won't kill you although it might feel like it sometimes. Make sure that you are assessed for anticoagulation  as stroke is a major consideration if one has AF.

    As far as exercise is concerned  listen to your body. Walking is good. Marathon running isn't.

    Don't even consider your  supposed healthy life style. Whilst I'm sure it was in other areas   AF is a mongrel condition with no logic and can hit anybody at any time. Alcohol can be a contributing factor in younger people as can over exercise hence my marathon comment.

    What treatment have you been given and what plan for the future? Have you seen a specialist or just your GP?

    Ask any questions and we will try to help.

  • Hello Bob,

    Thank you.I have seen a specialist who diagnosed Af and am due to see Cardiologist later today to see if I need a heart scan or echo scan? I am currently on 1 beta blocker per day and blood thinner night and morning.The first time in my 74 years that I have seriously attende a GP surgery and neve ever having taken prescription drugs!

  • Francis. I would also strongly suggest that you search the posts on this forum since there have been many on these topics. 

  • Thank you,can you suggest where to start as there are so many.

  • Go to main AFA website and look at publications covering general topics (ie not medicines) and read them. A good one is also the one for family and friends. I suggest that you request hard copies or print out some of them so that it is easier to read and you can make notes or highlight bits. I say this even though I am very computer literate and print little.

    Once you have grasped the basics gradually widen your searching. 

  • Thank you

  • Me too Francis23 last May .nothing else wrong when GP found erractic pulse and I had ecg and anti coagulant shockingly quickly .Thank God! (and my GP) .Itook a while to realise AF can happen to anyone  ,I was 74 

  • Thank you Angela

  • I have been suffering from SVT (Supra ventricular tachycardia) for years. Last Friday went to hospital and was diagnosed with AF. I'm 58 yo and with a history of panic and anxiety attacks this has hit me for a six.

  • Thank you Kim.I too have always been an anxious type but have had no problems until recently,so I am also hit for six. 

  • Has it ever occurred to you that the "panic attacks" could have been your AF all along. A racing heart can feel like many things and many people have been told that their AF was anxiety or in Ladies case " just your age dear". I get quite angry about this!

  • I read so many times on here how people are devastated when they are told they have AF. When I was told, I was totally non-plussed as I hadn't a clue what it was. I think my response was just "Okay". Since then I've done much research on it and if you can remain positive and pro-active about ways to keep it at bay, then that all helps.

  • Thank you Alan.What is your advice on keeping AF at bay,should I still walk several miles per day?

  • I have found moderate exercise helps. I do 2 and half mile power walks every day and I feel fine doing them. As for keeping it at bay, I just try and stay relaxed and do deep breathing if I ever get an ectopic beat or get that feeling that an episode may be wanting to start. I'm looking into supplements as well at the moment because I think being pro-active about looking for other solutions keeps you in a positive frame of mind, which a lot of people have said is very important. Just sitting back and awaiting the next episode is not the way to go.

  • Thank you Alan,I agree.Had an attack yesterday but just off for a 2/3 mile walk.

    God bless,

  • I regularly went for a brisk walk following the onset of an AF bout. I found that on occasion it would kick my heart back into normality. I know that they normally recommend that you relax during AF but what works for one does not always work for another. Ambulance drivers found that they could return me to NSR by slamming on their brakes. As Bob suggested, there is no definitive reason behind the onset of AF.

  • Thank you,I appreciate your advice. 

  • Francis...dont be concerned. I was super fit running marathons and like you tee total when diagnosed. Ironically part of me thinks that's why I got it. The funniest part of your post to me is the fact you list your healthy lifestyle and seemed shocked that it happened to you at 74...people get AF in their 20s and 30s...God bless. Andrew

  • Thank you Andrew,glad I made you laugh.Do you still run?

  • Hello, one suggestion is to try and find a possible definite cause, if any, in my case it took ages to realise a possible one was a relatively large dose of ibuprofen I had taken for a painful hip. That was 4 years ago and cardioversion sorted it out. I was not sure though, despite reading ibuprofen was a risk factor. However rather stupidly the other week I obviously took more ibuprofen than I should, and the irregular rhythm has come back. So I am back in the system again, but one consolation is the knowledge not to take NSAIDs ever again.  You may not have any specific causes, but it may be worth trying to work out if there are any possibilities and things to steer clear of. Best of luck. Tony Rands

  • Thank you Tony.What is cardioversion by the way?

  • Cardioversion is one treatment for AF.  Figure that it might be better to pull up a hyperlink than depend on my description: stopafib.org/electrical.cfm

    The cardioversion worked for me.  So, I am happy with it.  The doctor combined my cardioversion with a perscription to take a beta blocker (which slows the heart rate) twice a day.  So far, so good 2 years plus later.  However, the write up says it may not last indefinitely.  We'll see.

  • Hello Francis, there is a good reply below. Your GP or specialist should explain everything as well, but some research of your own would mean you should be better able to ask the right questions and challenge them if necessary. Keep up the exercise I am 77yo and still doing 10k runs but till this is sorted am rather slower than before. Regards Tony.

  • By the way ,keep walking and enjoy

    Bob D is always so sensible,

  • I will Angela.

    Thank you 

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