Red wine and a dance or two?

Ok, so I've got a/f plus a hole in the heart! Big shock but I'm trying to come to terms with it. I'm desperate to try and lead a normal life style. I know I've mentioned this before but what is the general opinion on excercise and alcohol? I'm not talking a lot if either!!! Maybe a bit of dancing and a glass of red two or three times a week.

28 Replies

  • Hi, I have had the occasional drink whilst in a/f. I was advised to exercise in moderation. So if I was you I would just check with your doctor and ask them, but I can't see them denying you a life.

  • If alcohol is not a trigger for you going into AF then go for it. You have to live!!!! I used to worry about taking a drink too in the early days and now I enjoy a glass of red regularly. It is not a trigger for me unless I really overdo it so I just have weighed up what is important to help me enjoy life and having a glass or 4 now and again is!!!!! Enjoy. And exercise can only be good for you in my opinion as long as you are not feeling physcially compromised during it and your doc has given the go ahead to exercise...which mine definitely did as he said it is so good for overall mental and physical well-being. Drink, dance and be merry!!!! X

  • Disclaimer....i am not a doctor and this advice is based on personal experience and opinion regarding joy of life lol

  • I agree with Vony's sentiments.

    Alcohol is not a trigger for my AF either and I enjoy a couple of glasses of red wine most days. Caffeine does not seem to be a problem either and I have my coffee in the mornings. I walk everywhere around 4 miles a day if not more and am on Apixoban.

    my triggers I have worked out are stress and trying to do too much and getting over tired. Oh, and being dehydrated is not good.

    Keep well and enjoy life!

  • They are my triggers too stress and trying to do too much and getting over tired. and being dehydrated along with being low in magnesium

  • I have AF (treated by an ablation last October), a leaky tricuspid valve and two residual small holes after hole in the heart closure nearly 30 years ago. I too have been encouraged to continue to exercise and not to worry about alcohol in moderation. Your own doctors can best advise knowing your personal history but AF and even a hole is definitely not the end of the world.

  • Everything in moderation. Do listen to your body of course and if you find that exercise sets off your AF or ditto alcohol then you know the answer. I used to go into AF at as sniff of drink but since my ablations I can usually drink a glass or two of white wine but I have learned to recognise when maybe this would be a bad idea.

    Mantra. AF may be in my life but it is not all of my life.



  • Triggers are very individual, some for me were obvious - stress, not pacing myself, caffeine and alcohol - a sniff would bring on an episode - there were no 'ifs' about it!

    Other people's AF is brought on by resting - exercise actually brings them back into NSR. We are all SO different it is a matter of suck it and see.

    The general rule of thumb is that for exercise you should be able to talk as you exercise, if you cannot, then ease down a little. Pace yourself (says she who never seems to have got the hang of that!) and enjoy. Life is for living.

    I recently saw an old saying on a FB post which I thought very appropriate -

    Everyone has 2 lives, you only start living your second life after you realise your first is expendable.

    Do what works for you and when it doesn't, adjust and adapt, but keep on enjoying your life.

    Sounds like you are not quite as spooked as you were a few days ago, well done.

    PS - 20% of the population has a hole in the heart, mine didn't show up on echo, only found during my ablation. Generally they are benign but they are linked to migraines.

  • OH I know that feeling CD. Knowing you are lucky to still be here has a great affect on the way you look at life. Must remember that statement.

  • The term PFO, after I had surgery to repair the hole in my heart, the migraine stopped. Do not overdo the alcohol, a glass of red wine does you good. I usually have a spritzer. Once in a while I enjoy a glass of red wine topped up with lemonade. Exercise yes, but take things easy, do not overstretch. I have been taking warfarin for years now, I follow the guidelines re- diet. It can be congenital, I was born with the hole, usually the hole closes soon after birth, I still have a leaky valve. There are several different types of migraine, Take a look at the Migraine website, migraine is a neurological condition. Do not bend over to touch your toes.

  • As most will say! It's different for us all, I can have a lager and lime

    or 1 vodka, but wine forget it, it has twice put me in A&e with 180 heart rate!! As for excercise I do 6 mile fast walk twice a week, never walked before AF. been fine, so test what works for you and enjoy your life 😀😎 best wishes

  • I don't drink at all. I don't know whether alcohol is a trigger for me not willing to test it out. More important to be well. I wasn't a drinker prior to af but enjoyed a glass of wine when out to dinner. Other people who drink seem more concern that I don't drink saying.....oh go on red wine is good for You! My cardiologist said carry on with life meaning the odd glass of wine is OK. So I can only be guided by what he said regarding alcohol. The change for me was ending up in resuscitation twice in three weeks with a racing heart of 250 beats per minute horrible and frightening without any alcohol consumption so I guess the decision to live without alcohol was a simple choice...abstain...... I don't miss it and still enjoy going out to dinner and enjoying the company around me. My meds are keeping the devil under control so not going to rock the boat. I do exercise which involves walking and I know my limitations. Tiredness and stress certainly impact upon my lifestyle and so does getting older coupled with having Paf but acceptance of what is and practising mindfulness has helped. This site is also a blessing. Enjoy your life whatever that means to you. Best wishes Chris.

  • Agree with much of what has been said. It depends on what works for you. My cardiologist didn't tell me to give up alcohol but warned me that it was undoubtedly a trigger for many people. Forget the mantra about red wine being better than white. My doctor said it was the opposite. Why that is, I don't know, but for AF not other forms of heart disease, red wine was shown to be more of a trigger He also said that it was the regularity that was the issue ie if I drank the same amount every day that was actually better than a few glasses occasionally. I think the principle here was that your heart doesn't like nasty surprises, but might atune to a steady pattern. For me, I found it easier to stop completely rather than have one glass and pine for another. After a while, I truly don't miss it! Exercise on the other hand is definitely something that helps me, both physically and mentally. If that goes along with some sensible weight loss than that's also a plus for general heart health. I gave up the squash and any big impact sports a long while back, but swimming, cycling and general work outs are good for me. My cardiologist suggested 5 periods of 10 minutes or more steady exercise a week was what I should aim for. As always, it is personal experience that's the key here and what suits your own lifestyle and state of mind. Best wishes.

  • Oh, everything in moderation including exercise. I'm sure some exercise has to be good for you, making the heart healthier can only be positive, but as others have said, aiming not to get out of breath. So sadly I have had to bow out of this year's Olympics, which is a bummer because I was a dead cert for gold in the heptathlon and several rowing events :D

    Joking aside, I drink the odd glass of wine, it's caffeine that gives my heart hiccups. Everyone is different and we have to find our own limits, but I hope you will also enjoy your life while you're doing it. Take care.

  • I was scared to do anything after going in to AF the first time.

    I now walk 3 miles to work and back at least 3 times a week (couldn't do that when I was on Bisoprolol)

    As for drinking, I cut out all alcohol and caffeine at first (not a problem as I rarely drank anyway) but recently I have had the odd pint of bitter or a G+T.

    Not sure when/if I will try cider again due to the high sulphite levels, shame 'cus that was my favorite tipple .

    I do have a nice coffee on occasion, but I used to drink 10-15 cups a day which is not good for anyone

  • Regarding just the exercise issue. Before Christmas I was having bouts of AF every couple of days, frequently lasting 8 to 10 hours. The most common trigger was playing Table Tennis. I play TT at quite a high level and my brain still wants my body to move like it did when I was 25, rather than 63! So the amount of exercise I get can be quite extreme.

    When I discussed this with the cardiac consultant he was quite happy for me to continue playing "as long as I was sensible about stopping if I started to feel faint or unwell". He then prescribed Flecainide and put me on the list for assessment for an ablation.

    In all the letters to my GP, both then and during the assessment, he gave my TT exercise as a positive reason for both having the new drug and the ablation.

    Fortunately for me, both worked miracles and I had my ablation 4 weeks ago and not had a significant bout of AF since the 1st week in January!

    I think there were 2 key thing regarding the exercise:

    1) By keeping fit I could cope much better with the ablation and the recovery;

    2) I wasn't going from nothing to extreme exercise. I have built up my fitness over years of playing and keeping that going or even building it up slowly is fine;

  • There was an article I read at the weekend that said that moderate exercise reduced risk of AF in men, but not intense exercise. On the other hand both moderate and intense exercise reduced risk in women. See:

    Concerning alcohol, red wine is the most important factor in the Mediterranean diet for reducing mortality, so a glass or two a day is good for your general health.

  • This is an excellent thread. I was diagnosed with PAF just one year ago and since then, EVERYTHING has changed. Some good, some not so good. The good is that I read that weight loss can have a dramatic affect on AF so I went on a diet and exercise program and lost about 100 pounds. I also added daily brisk walks of 3 -4 miles. I have not had an attack, at least that I'm aware of, in a year, the last 5 months of which I have taken no medication other than apixaban.

    The bad news is that the fear of having a stroke and of taking a blood thinner has taken over much of my life. I have given up all alcohol, most foods that I loved, and much of my blissful belief that I still had many many years ahead of me, years in which I would travel and enjoy seeing the world. I'm now afraid of traveling too far from home, in case something were to happen. I'm terrified of having a drink for fear it will bring on an attack and from reading that it can cause a major bleed for those on a blood thinner. Perhaps the worst was needing to stop taking an SSRI because it interacts with the new blood thinners.

    Reading your posts about getting on with living helps me realize that many people do get past the daily fear and live a more normal life. I hope I can get there. Thanks to all for sharing.

  • Jeff, in relation to your fear of blood thinners, Warfarin, NOAC's etc, they don't thin your blood. Maybe you know this already, but I just mention this because having been told that on this forum, by @BobD et al, made a huge difference to me because I was scared as well, and who wouldn't be with thinner blood (which it isn't). I'm a farmer and scrape, cut and bruise myself daily sometimes, but not had any problems so far.


  • Thanks Koll. I know they don't literally thin your blood, but that is what they are commonly called. They do give you an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and can cause you to bleed out in the event of a serious accident . They can also interfere if you need emergency surgery for something else. They are dangerous and I would certainly rather live without it if I could. I am meeting with the doctor next week and intend to find out whether there is a surgical alternative.

  • That is a myth re emergency procedures.

    These days many procedures are undertaken whilst on anticoagulants - and that certainly includes catheter Ablations whilst still on Warfarin - I know it happened to me absolutes no missed doses.

    Also if it bleeding that much of an issue it will be an issue for someone NOT on anticoagulants and many techniques for stopping bleeding have been developed over recent years.

  • I agree, anti-coags do not thin the blood, they help to prevent the blood from clotting, I have noticed when I scratch myself, I do tend to bleed a little more, when pressure is placed over the scratch, it stops.

    Each time I have a blood test, firm pressure is placed over the vein, it usually stops. Many people seem to think the same.

    I wish you all well.

  • I am on Apixaban Jeff and regularly enjoy a couple of small glasses of red. It is maybe not advised if on an anticoagulant but my understanding is that alcohol does not interact as severely with NOACs as it does with warfarin. I also felt consumed by fear of stroke in the past...and still sometimes do but i have decided to try and live my life and am happier for it. I wish you well. The AF journey can be an enlightening and difficult one. Hugs:) xxx

  • Excuse my ignorance but what is a SSRA?

  • An SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is a medication for depression and anxiety. I took one for many years to deal with panic attacks. I gave it up because it interacts with apixaban and increases the chance of bleeding.

  • Oh dear, thats a bit of a bummer then. Can you take something else that doesnt react with apixaban? X

  • Whatever works for you , red wine a no for me but beer ok in moderation - walk 10plus miles a day as far as excercise goes I am fine.

  • I do exactly what I used to do 11 years ago before I had AF and found I also had a leaky valve (Mitral regurgitation). Red wine most evenings, hard exercise (walking, Cycling, Badminton), eat anything I fancy and rest up only when the conditions tells me; which, thankfully, is not too often. My cardio said to exercise as hard as I wished, always listening to my body.

    Remember who the boss is !

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