AF newbie!!

My partner, who is 60 years old has just been told he has AF. All a little bit of a shock for us - when he has never had a day off sick in his life of working. We seem to be in a normal rhythm at the moment. I appreciate all the previous posts - doesn't seem as we are the only ones battling with understanding it. I would like to know if anyone has ever felt depressed or lethrgica with it- my partner who was always so energetic now seems to want to sit and relax. Any advise would be wonderful.

9 Replies

  • Hi, welcome. We all appreciate on here how it feels after the diagnosis and empathise with you. The mind is a very powerful thing and as soon as you know there something wrong the symptoms seem to heighten. Anxiety is certainly an issue with AF. If he is in sinus (normal) rhythm and if he is not on any medication it probably is anxiety and also just recovering from the whole situation he has gone through. My advice would be to take it easy, read up on this site all you can and use this forum for more support. Sometimes just doing something small like a short walk and if that is ok try a little further the next day can help you in regaining lost confidence. Good luck.

  • Hi and welcome. It takes time to get used to AF and yes if one is symptomatic (not everyone is) you can get tired. It is also a huge psychological shift to get your head around that there is something wrong with your heart many people have anxiety around this so it is not unusual for people to behave differently.

    It also doesn't mean life as you knew ends, although adjustments may have to be made. Over exercising, alcohol, caffeine, certain foods, sleeping can all be triggers for episodes of AF and sometimes people need time to come to terms with what they can and can't do.

    First episodes are very scary but give it time and knowledge and you will both adjust. Knowledge always helps so suggest your partner goes to the AFA website and absorbs as much info as possible so that you can both drew up an action plan. Knowing you have an understanding and supportive partner will be very helpful.

  • Hello Oysterbox and welcome to the forum. It sounds as if your partner (going to call him Fred!) has paroxysmal AF, the type which comes and goes. I assume he was diagnosed during a routine visit to his GP. Some GP's often do not have a detailed knowledge of AF and I would suggest you ask to be referred to an Electrophysiologist (a Cardiologist who specialises in arrythmias because it is important to establish a treatment plan which is best suited to meet Fred's needs. This will take time unless you are able to have a private consultation, but during the wait, you should checkout all the masses of information available on the AF Association webpage. Some important facts which may help with the depression and lethargy. There are over 1 million AF sufferers in the UK alone and less than 7000 members of this forum which suggests that many lead relatively normal and active lives. Once your knowledge increases, the fear and depression generally decreases but I'm not going to suggest that it's an easy journey. It is commonly stated that folk do not die from AF however, the main risk AF sufferers are exposed to is being around 5 times more likely to have a stroke which, of course, sounds scarey, but Fred is under 65 and if he is healthy it may not be necessary for him to take anti-coagulants, but this is something you need to check using the CHA2DS2-VASc score featured in the webpage.

    You will over time get a lot of help and support from folks on the forum and I would also suggest you look to see if there are any local support groups. Most of this information is availaible using the "Search AF Association" box on the top righthand corner of this page......hope this helps.....John

  • Thanks very much for all your replies - certainly makes it easier when you have others experiencing something similar. Partner is on medication and awaiting results from his Sleep Clinic as he does have sleep apnea- so its early stages and so many questions we need to ask - not always easy when you suddenly remember something when you have left the cardiologist rooms.

    Thank you so much again - I certainly appreciate it

  • Hi welcome I'm a nurse but when told I had AF my brain went into overdrive. Odd thinking heart mis behaving but for me I read all about it and treatment options to enable me to discuss and make informed decisions. My story was very off the wall with some different outcomes but here I am meds and pacemaker and many ops/ procedures 62 and living with it and feeling better. Good luck on your journey

  • I was diagnosed in March last year but in hindsight I had episodes for over 10 years previously. I'm 54 I do feel quite depressed at times because it's something you have to learn to manage and when it happens it's frightening. I am also tired alot of the time but I think it's the Meds I am on So am going to discuss this with my EP. The good news is once you get it controlled it's OK. My uncle has had it for years and he's 90 next week☺

  • Hi, some great replies above. My experience, as someone who maintained a high level of fitness, is a sports coach, and no days off work, was an initial feeling of not being able to manage my body in a way that I am helping others to do? The other feeling was "I am now old" and yet I am not at 58!

    I have worked with athletes who have had changes to their lives, approaches to their training, injuries etc. Whilst we are not all athletes we still go through much of the same thinking and coming to terms with changes. The Kubler Ross curve or Change House is a useful reference for how we think these changes through.

    I am now in the exploration phase of the curve, if not yet acceptance, following an ablation and on management meds awaiting my post procedure review.

    Started back to light exercise and enjoying that!

    Good luck with the way forward.

  • I was a fit man who never went sick at work etc until my AF was found by accident. I am asymptomatic.

    The fact that I had a heart problem really knocked me for six. I was scared thinking I was going to die at any moment and above all felt helpless. I,d never felt helpless before II was always on control. Now I was going for tests with nurses and doctors who didn't seem to care.

    No one took me aside and told me what I had, it's consequences etc. I had to make it all up in my own head.

    That's probably what your husband's feeling now. He's feeling cheated and a victim of something that's not his fault.

    The good news is that AF is not as bad as I thought it was.There are worse things you can have and you can carry on living as normal.

    Everything I know about AF I learned on this site. The medics have never really told me anything.

    PS He will probably need to go onto an anticoagulant.Warfarin is the standard one, but read up on the new drugs. The regular testing of warfarin at the surgery I found depressing. Sitting with much older people reminded me I had a condition. I now take a new anticoagulants and have not been in a surgery for over a year. Might suit him too.

    All the best.

  • Thank you gateman - this sounds exactly what we feeling at the moment. But great advise and we will follow your advise. Thank you again- so good to get all these positive replies.

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