Diagnosed with AF

After a couple of years with palpitations, numerous ECGs and blood tests all normal I had more palpitations last week and went back to my GP. This time my heart beat was irregular and after a trip to A&E and hospital admission I was diagnosed as AF. I'm still in AF and taking 2.5 mg Bisoprolol but no thinners as I didn't meet the criteria.

I've had some great advice from others on another site but am still worried and a little anxious as to what this all means. I used to enjoy a few pints at the weekend and going on cycle rides - is that all at an end now? A lot of people appear to slip in and out of AF, will the drugs mean that I will go back to sinus? I have an appt with a consultant coming up, and it would be good to hear from people on this forum in the meantime.

Thanks,

Stuart

9 Replies

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  • Stuart have you tried magnesium

  • Why? It doesn't stop or reduce AF episodes.

  • Hi Stuart and welcome to the mad world of AF. The first thing to understand about AF is IT WON'T KILL YOU. It may well change your life but life goes on and it is important not to let it take over your life. The second thing to know is that we are all different and AF is such a mongrel condition which we all suffer in different ways.

    My advice would be to go to AF Association website and read all you can as knowledge is power. Any information there is checked nd approved by medical experts in the field of arrhythmias.

    Bisporolol is a beta blocker to slow your heart rate when in AF. It won't stop AF as it is not an anti-arrhythmic drug. You may, however, spontaneously revert to NSR at any time. You have been adjudged not to need anticoagulants ( not blood thinners please as they don't) but this is a fluid situation so why not do your own check from time to time. Look up CHADSVASC on AF-A site and do your own risk assessment.

    Hopefully when you see your cardiologist you will have the usual echocardiogram (to check the mechanical function of the heart) as well as various blood tests to rule out things like thyroid problems.

    You will find a great deal of information out there, some of it actually medically approved so please be careful . Ask any specific questions and we will try to help.

    Bob

  • Hi Stuart,

    Your opening paragraph reads like a re - run of my own experience. I'll give you some of my personal statistics - Diagnosed in Jan 2010 (age 65) after some 2 years of palpitations; came at me like a bolt out of the blue - actually, I felt so awful I thought I was going down with the 'flu - nothing to do with cardiac issues at all; this was followed by falling blood pressure; then into A & E and kept in hospital for 6 days for a full range of tests which confirmed no other cardiac issues whatsoever only paroxysmal AF; I was put on Bisoprolol (5mg) and am still on it at that doseage. (My GP and I have tried reducing the doseage but my heart rate goes ballistic so I am staying on the 5 mg ). Also on Warfarin (average of 5 mg daily). Later, I did attend hospital for a cardioversion but by the time I kept my appointment my heart had reverted itself into NSR.

    After some 4 months after diagnosis I identified food as a trigger, and some alcohol too. I changed my food intake and booze too, I got the advice of a Nutritionist and went gluten free, wheat free and picked the eyes out of the FODMAPS diet and tamed/calmed my digestive system and am fine now with my last AF event being April 2015. I make hardly any concessions to Warfarin but am consistent in what I do eat. Definitely no grapefruit, or cranberry products though.

    So you like your pints and cycle rides - well - unless you get medical advice to the contrary why change the pleasure habits of a life time. I like walking and down here in Cornwall I still get joy from my walks along the South West coastal path. Must say though I can no longer drink 'Real' Ales anymore and only a few lagers,; i.e. Peroni, Tiger beer, Bud, San Miguel, (its the ingredients that matter) and I have a couple of 330 ml bottles a day or I may have a G & T, or I may have a white or red wine - depends on what I feel like.

    All AF does for you is cause you to make minor modifications to your lifestyle - it ain't the end of the world - just the beginning of a new one. I am not gonna tell you what to do, our bodies are all different and so you need to re-evaluate things - maybe a change of pace is what is needed, not a cessation of things you enjoy. Remember if you want to impose limitations on your life then AF gives you a bloody good reason for imposing limits. BUT, it doesn't have to be like that. I still travel ( to Australia), last time I took a seaplane ride (seated up front next to the pilot, bloody great) around Sydney Harbour, have done the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb ( up about 500 ft to the top), and closer to home have had a bash (under instruction) at flying a glider.

    I'm 72 in September, I enjoy working, so have a part time job 30 hours plus a week driving buses, I enjoy the money and more importantly I enjoy the social interaction that the work place brings - good for my motivation and outlook - and I still do unhealthy things like go out partying with the youngsters at work. Mind you I can't kick on clubbing till 03 00 am any more. Not that I want to.

    And finally, old age is a bloody great con - a bloody rip off, it ain't what its cracked up to be, the advertising is crap - osteo arthritis has now set in and I had a partial knee replacement last November - not a piece of surgery of choice I have to say but I survived and now live a pain free life.

    I do have to say one additional final thing though. I was diagnosed in about 9/10 hours from onset. I believe (and its just a personal belief) that the speed with which diagnosis occurs and treatment is started is fundamental to a good and lasting recovery. I would add that so far I have had no surgical intervention and I hope it stays that way. It may not because AF is such an untrustworthy beast.

    So there you go,

    May the force be with you.

    John

  • What a brilliant reply - good onya carneuny.

    cheers,

    Musetta from down under :)

  • Stuart. Apologies if I am teaching you to suck eggs. As I am sure you already know there are four types of AF paroxysmal, persistent, long term persistent and permanent. From what you say it would appear that you are in persistent AF whereas John has paroxsymal AF. There are many fundamental differences. Within each group the AF is very variable both regarding causes and effects. One thing is for sure AF is truly a mongrel affliction. A few things are recommended by many EPs, etc is eliminating processed foods, reducing salt and sugar, reducing / eliminating alcohol, etc, etc. I am in persistent AF. I now know from the symptoms and learning that I had it some time previously from the point of formal diagnosis. At that time my alcohol consumption was below the recommended guidelines but I decided to eliminate alcohol because it is a stimulant for AF. On New Year's Eve I had a quarter of a small flute of champagne without it having much effect. However a few weeks ago I had a few sips (say half the quantity) of prosecco and within 5 to 10 mins the heart was racing faster and the AF was buzzing. That is the extreme for me. Other things affect it much more slowly.

    PS. I really envy those like John who have paroxsymal AF who are less somptomatic. However those who have paroxysmal AF and are very symptomatic are worse off

    Good luck!!

  • Many thanks for all the replies. It does feel like Afib is a diverse condition with many variations. I saw my consultant today and we have agreed for for me to have further tests (echo & 24hr monitor) and to start anticoagulants with a plan to have cadioversion. The journey begins! By the way i'm 47.

    Thanks,

    Stuart

  • Good luck, it truly is a very varied condition. I saw an EP last week and he seemed to think that triggers are over rated and I personally haven't been able to identify any. I meet the criteria for AF however, overweight, 65 years of age and long standing hypertension. I now drink hardly at all and monitor my coffee intake, losing weight and sleep study next.

  • Hi , it always seems a while before the medics get to diagnose AF . I guess its the rogue nature of the beast. I think the think is to try to work out what triggers your AF and cut that out as best you can . Reading other comments on the forum its all down to common sense. I Have cut down the beer and the spicy indians but not out. I do get a touch of the flutters but nothing that seems to debilitating for a while now. Hope you are able to settle into a style that suits you - good luck

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