ongoing permanent af

i was first diagnosed 7years ago during a routine blood pressure test. i have never had any symptoms i,e. palpations etc. sadly cardioversion didnt work. i first noticed myself getting more breathless about 3 years ago but only on inclines and hills. for the last 2years i noticed how breathless i was in very hot weather. however this year things have got worse. in july i was very ill with a burst duodenal ulcer. i was kept in hospital for several days during which time i had blood tranfusions. it was after this that i became more breathless my gp put it down to anemea the aftermath of the bleed. i now have a normal hg but the breathlessness continues. when i first stand up from sitting down and moving i get breathless but it eases off when i continue to walk. i have become so paranoid and anxious about the breathlessness i find myself avoiding excercise in cas my heart gives out. i have discussed this with my gp she suggested cbt. does anyone else feel panicky?

6 Replies

  • Curious if you have tried swimming laps for exercise as I also have the supposed permanent afib and can get breathless up hills but ok swimming,

  • Not suprising. If in persistent or permanent AF you can loose 30% or more of your effective circulation but this is not just blood flow. Very hot or cold weather typically exacerbates most heart problems.

    Suggest you go to GP and insist on referral to an EP (Electrophysiologist) who is a cardiologist who specialises in arrhythmia. See main AFA website. There's a lot that has changed since you diagnosis.

    You don't mention your age or any other health conditions but I'm guessing female. It's quite possible that you should be on an anticoagulant since in the last five years or so over 60% of major and fatal strokes have been found to be attributed to AF sufferers.

  • gentle exercise will help your circulation so don't get too immobile! I agree re swimming!!

  • I too was diagnosed during a routine check up and didn't know I had it. I've had two failed cardioversions and now have permanent AF. I have less symptoms now than I've ever had and the reason why in my opinion is because I'm doing much more regular exercise (one hours brisk walk with the dog every morning) and my breathlessness has all but disappeared. I used to get breathless bending down to tie my shoe laces. There have been many posts on this forum about AF and the state of mind and maybe your GP has a point. You've said yourself that it eases when you continue to walk. AF is really crap and I've even been hospitalised by it in the past. But don't let in control you perhaps you need a to have a different relationship with it.

    Good Luck

  • Panic accompanies AF, it is both physical for many people and psychological - when you worry or avoid things you think will make you worse - such as you describe. I completely agree re the exercise - swimming is excellent - any hard aerobic exercise or walking up incline will make you breathless.

    Regular breathing exercises will help enormously - breathing through the nose, breath in for 7 and breathing out through pursed lips for 11. If that is too much then try 5/7 or even 3/5 - important to practice in a quiet place when all your attention is on your breathing. Take your time and practice for 5-15 mins a day.

    If you suddenly get panicky, try this breathing but also press a finger lightly on the lower rim of the bony part of your eye socket - if you are looking straight ahead - imagine where the pupil would be - hold directly below. This is an acupuncture point which when stimulated will help calm your Autonomic Nervous System - ANS - which goes into over-drive when stimulated through internal or external stimuli.

    CBT will also help you to identify what exactly you are worrying about how you can challenge your thoughts.

    If you haven't already please take up the suggestion of seeing an EP as they are the experts in managing AF and other electrical dysfunctions of the heart.

    Many people have to live with AF and living with worry and panic will probably do you more harm than the exercise so good idea to find some coping strategies.

    Best wishes - CD

  • Hi. I`m in permanent AF with hardly any symptoms. However, I also get a little breathless, even when walking up a very slight incline. After walking for a few minutes, I too find the breathlessness subsides. Excercise is up to the individual and what they can tolerate. I find that for me, walking at least a mile - often more - a day, suits me fine as I`m not far off 80.

    Don`t worry too much about the breathlessness - it comes with the territory. Just excercise up to a level that you can comfortably stand. If your heart is otherwise healthy, AF won`t cause it to give out on you.

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