GENES and Afib

At the age of 43 (I am now 64) my palpitations were investigated and I was told I had arrhythmia...but was given no drugs or advice to help control it. I was diagnosed with persistent AF three months ago and I now realise that I must have had paroxysmal AF for years. I realise that less was known or understood about AF when I was first diagnosed with arrhythmia and I am getting to know more about it as I continue to research it here and on other sites. However, a big 'eye opener' (and a rather disheartening one) has come from looking at my own family's health. One of 7 siblings aged between 56 and 67, I am one of 3 blondes who appear to have inherited at least one of several health problems that were common to my father and his side of the family. He died of a heat attack aged 72. The 4 dark-haired siblings appear to have inherited my mother's genes when it comes to health. Mother is almost 93 and she never took any medication until a few years ago when she was put given drugs to control mildly-elevated cholesterol and blood pressure (like many older folks). The one, to me disturbing, factor that keeps cropping up the more I look into my family's health is the fact that us blondes are worriers, often becoming overanxious about little things that shouldn't worry us. The brunettes amongst us seem to sail along through life without worrying unduly about anything, just as my mother has done all her life. They are all more relaxed than us blondes. To cut a long story short, as they say, if there is one thing I am going to try my best to do to help deal with my persistent Afib as I go down the path towards possible's to stop worrying about things I can do nothing about and just RELAX, take life as it comes, enjoy it, try to avoid stressful situations and, if they are unavoidable, try to deal with them in a more relaxed way.

9 Replies

  • The only trigger that I can identify for my AF is stress although most attacks have no identifiable cause. You are very wise to realize that worrying is pointless when it achieves nothing.

    I was shocked to discover that 2 of my cousins had been diagnosed with AF. Perhaps it's just a coincidence but it did set me thinking as my aunt, on that side of the family did have a cardiovertion in old age. Whilst I look very like the aunt, the 2 male cousins look completely different.

  • Very interesting. ...

    I'm the double of my mum who was a Nervous Nelly and died at 65 of sudden and terminal ovarian cancer brought on, I am certain, by a hugely worrying event starting the year before. For many years she would refer to her "funny heart" and as a child I now recall often seeing her check her own pulse.

    The sad thing is, because she was such a worrier, we all (her GP, husband, kids and friends) put it down to that and never thought of AF. It is so obvious now that she had it and I guess it's a miracle a stroke never got her before the cancer.

    I have fought "against type" all my life as I am determined not to let my middle and later years be consumed by the worry and anxiety which blighted and IMO killed my mum so young. Having late babies (surprise twins at 41!) I have all the more reason to fight it.

    My AF is definitely triggered by stress although caffeine is also a trigger as are sugary foods and late meals. Also frankly it can come for no apparent reason at all.

    We have had a very difficult year as our small business has been at the mercy of the plunging oil price. We are not alone (my daughters' private school has lost half the class in the last year) as we live in an area where pretty much everyone depends on oil jobs. So it's impossible to escape the worry and house prices have gone down 20% etc etc. No coincidence then I think that my AF was diagnosed in March!

    What I think I'm trying to say is YES stress and genetics are big factors in AF and YES we should definitely be making every effort to live in the moment and avoid letting anxiety take hold.

    Ps I'm also blonde - thanks to Clairol 😀

  • Very interesting your comments on blondes - that is me and neither of my brothers are blond and they are OK.

    Interestingly when I had varicose veins stripped out of my right leg 0n 1989 (due to a phlebitis) I had over 2 units of transfusion. Afterwards my consultant said that I had supported the research that he had been doing where blondes (natural that is!!!) bled more when having operations and were more susceptible to circulatory (including heart) problems. He was doing some data and analysis research on this. Unfortunately he had a major stroke about 6 months afterwards and went into a "vegetative" state and never recovered.

  • I am also blonde my sister is dark. I have A.F. and she doesnt. Amazeballs as they say!!

  • I'm a blonde also! Maybe we are on to something.

  • Sorry to break the pattern, I'm not blonde but have AF. I was blonde as a child though if that counts. My dad had AF as well looking back, he was mousy like me. There probably is a genetic inheritance with AF like most things I guess, but I'm one of 5 and the only one with AF (yet!). I'm the one who's a chip off the old block though in most ways.

    I once knew a cattle geneticist who explained to me how the personalities of cattle was affected by their colour, or the other way round. He said red was the base colour, whatever that meant, and they were the wildest (which didn't mean they were wild, just wilder than they would be if they weren't red). Then the genes that changed the colour also watered down the wildness/fieriness of the cattle. So if you got a calm red cow, and I had plenty, then she was genetically very calm and good to breed from. Something like that anyhow, don't know whether he was right or not!


  • Well I am a brunette and have AF, 2nd sister is blonde no AF, third sister is a redhead no AF, My mother was blonde she did have AF but very rarely more blood pressue problems, she died in january aged 90 (from wear and tear, she gradually shut down). Dad is dark (well grey he is 94) no AF.

    I would say I am the calmest of all of them, so my family donn't fit in with the blonde theory!!!


  • The exception always proves the rule!!!!!

    With most medical things it is trends / chances / risks!!!

  • Me too! And they said " Blondes have more fun!"

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