Living with af : Hi ,is it possible to live a... - AF Association

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Living with af


Hi ,is it possible to live a normal life with persistent af ,i.e going to work, exercise etc going on hols .Because i'm worried about the prospect of this happening to me, not living a normal life being on meds as well.Is there anyone who is experiencing this now if so can you tell me how you are coping.

12 Replies

Hi Whiststev

Normal, what does that mean to you? certainly all the things you mention I work full time and then some, I am out probably 4 evenings a week, I go on holiday twice a year plus weekends away, including recently going round China alone by train. I exercise (gently to be fair) when my knee is not buggered up (op soon :) ) and I live a pretty normal and busy life.

OK mountains are a problem, but find a lift up, and avoid really hilly places it's just too difficult.

Oh and been in persistent AF for a miminum of nearly four years since diagnosis, and probably 3 - 5 years before that.

Be well


Hi, While I do agree with Beancounter I would like to add that at first diagnosis I did not cope very well, with full time work, kids and debilitating meds, but please be assured you will come to realise that life goes on as normal despite how you sometimes feel and you just get used to it and do what your body is telling you and allows you to do.

Get info off the related websites regarding this they are really helpful.

Good luck,


I was diagnosed with persistent AF in 2013. Since this time I have mostly had reasonably good periods living a full life, although I have had to slow down a bit. However, I am now 59 and have to remember that you do slow down at this time of life too!

My consultant was surprised I was still working full time (Oct 2015). I work as a nurse and if I am honest in the last few months I have been aware I am pushing myself. Work has been very supportive and some adjustments have been agreed to reduce the physical pressure of the workload, while still enabling me to fulfill my role.

I was very nervous initially to travel anywhere on my own but my confidence has grown. My first holiday after being diagnosed with AF, I went away with a friend. I used to love walking in the mountains and more adventurous travel but have had to modify this. Accepting the adaptations I have had to make to make has not come easily to me and I am still trying to get my head around some of the restrictions. When I feel frustrated I try and focus on what I can do as it makes me feel happier to look at the positive rather than the negative.

I am aware I need to work a bit harder on the lifestyle issues as I haven't eaten really well recently so the weight has crept up. I know when I was a stone lighter I felt better. I suppose it's about balance, how much we each want to put in and what we get back in return for the effort? I have found new interests in my life, never thought I would love bird watching, sewing and allowing myself time to relax and read!

Reading posts other members put on this site AF can affect each of us differently but I have found the forum a great source for support and reassurance.

I hope you find things settle down for you and you find work life balance that is fulfilling without AF being the main focus. Wishing you all the best.

Hi WhistStev

Undoubtedly it is possible as Beancounter etc have said. I think it depends on how symptomatic you are AND how you cope with the meds. In my case it was VERY and NOT VERY WELL AT ALL. My EP would have preferred me stay on the meds and carry on regardless but with a job, family and lots of other committtments I found that life was just a misery. Without beta blockers my heart was totally loopy 24/7 but taking them made me feel awful. I just couldn't cope - I'm relatively young in AF terms- just turned 50 I opted for an ablation and 3 months later feel fantastic.

As you know we are all different....... its just what suits you. I think we all know that AF isn't life threatening as long as the correct medication is taken so if you feel well and are happy to take the pills then life can be pretty normal I think.

Hope that is of some help!


Hi Whisteve,

To answer your question ... my AF is not persistent, just paroxysmal AF but then I was diagnosed and treatment started within 9 hours of onset ... so the bloody AF thingy didn't have a chance to get a grip of me. I was 65 when diagnosed, I turn 72 in September. I do all the things I want to do indeed I still work 30 to 40 hours a week and really enjoy myself. I travel to Australia - no worries and have climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I am on warfarin and bisoprolol for AF and statins add to that Ramipril and Felodopine for high BP. 6 months after diagnosis I identified food as the trigger for my AF and found that my vagal nerve may also play a part. I dealt with those things with the help of a nutritionist .... not an EP or a cardiologist. I've even had a partial knee replacement involving coming off warfarin for a short while.

Do balance my comments though with those of others who find AF totally and utterly debilitating, soul and life destroying. I believe the speed of my diagnosis and start of treatment prevented my AF from getting worse.

May the force be with you.


I had undiagnosed A.F. for 10 years and juggled a full time teaching job with a hobby of riding young horses and also dealing with my ageing sick parents. I felt terrible but I did it.

Then I had some T.I.A.s and subsequently diagnosed with A.F. and put on warfarin but no other medication. I still felt terrible because no one had dealt with the rate or rhythm. I gave up the horses as I couldnt risk a fall whilst anticoagulated and generally felt badly done to. Then 3 years ago I moved area and the new G.P. referred me to a cardiologist. Long story short, following a visit to an E.P. my life changed. He put me on a medication to control rhythm and one to control rate, I had a partially successful ablation but am still on the meds. I would now say my life is good. I walk 4 miles a day with my dogs, (I am retired from teaching but not through ill health) I go to the gym twice a week to raise my heart rate a bit. I dont go mad, just enough to make me feel Ive done something. I do a pilates and aqua aerobics class and I attend other activities in the evenings. I have great holidays bothin this country and abroad (not too adventurous ). So all in all I would say that life can be great even with A.F. even though it is different to before.

You will have to spend a bit of time sorting out treatment and making adjustments. Make sure you see an E.P. as opposed to a general cardiologist . It may take a while to get the right medication for you and to get used to it but then you should be good to go.

All the best. X

Hello just came across your post. Yes you can live a normal life. I have persistent AF but I still live a normal life. I can swim,run any ride my bike. I still pursue all my hobbies and intrests in life and hold down a full time job which involves working over seas on a regular basis. And sometimes I even go to the pub. I was discharged by my cardiologist 18 months ago. I just keep taking the tablets. I do believe you will make your self feel worse by dwelling on the fact that you have AF.

I was diagnosed at the end of October last year. I also have heart failure and an overactive thyroid. I went from zero meds to lots and it did take time for my body to adjust. I can only handle small doses of beta blockers as my blood pressure and HR drop too much.

I was off sick from work for 6 months, but it was the combination of the 3 conditions that made this happen. I'm now back working full time, however I have changed my job role at work to one which is less physically demanding.

The only thing I can't really do is exercise. My cardio told me not to get my heart rate up too much, so I'm limited to walking really. I get light headed and short of breath going up stairs, so use a lift where there is one. Other than that I just carry on.

I'm sure you will do just fine once you have adjusted to meds.

AF affects everyone differently. I have other problems so do not cope very well, but my brother in law only has AF, and copes extremely well, he's 74. He gets tired but has a nap and then he is set to go again. He is not working so I suppose that makes a difference. I think you need to discuss things with your consultant, and see what is the best course of treatment for you. Best of luck

All good advice above. I too have permanent AF, and I am not aware of it rally affecting my life, you can only tell by taking my pulse. think we get it better than those who have it intermittently where there is discomfort during the 'attacks'. One thing I'd say is be aware of your medicines as sometimes these can cause side effects (beta blockers can make you lethargic for instance). Best of luck,

Thank you for all you comments .Not seen an EP yet but soon will be.I am a Mental health practitioner ,semi retired and I feel now I have empathy with people I work with because of what the af is doing to me with regards to anxiety .I'd love to reply to all of you and thank each one of you for giving me an insight into how you are all coping with AF.It makes me feel better knowing that you can live with it!

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