AF Association
13,268 members16,140 posts

Newbie to this a fib thing

I was just diagnosed with a fib at my yearly physical. EKG and Echo cardiogram confirmed it. I'm now on warfarin. But I think I've had this quite awhile with heart flutters, heart pounding issues and rapid pulse even while sedentary. I'm wondering what other symptoms should I be looking for. I'm experiencing depression and extreme fatigue. Is that normal? Can any of you with experience in this condition enlighten me. Thanks.

12 Replies

This is such a mongrel condition that few people suffer exactly the same. You don't state your age or what other drugs you have been put on but from your terminology I assume that you are in North America. Atrial Fibrillation Association is a world wide organisation based in England and I suggest that you go to the website and read all you can for some understanding of this condition.

Anxiety and to some extend depression are common bedfellows of AF . You have something wrong with your heart after all and you only have one unless you are a time lord. (If you have never heard of Dr Who ignore that joke.) The fatigue exacerbates any worries and can lead to a downward spiral unless one is strong or has some help. This forum provides support and knowledge to fellow sufferers which many find helps them.

I often read comments like " I want my life back". Well here is a news flash. This is your life. You are not dead, just different and with support, medication or even procedures can enjoy life to the full. Sadly some of the drugs used to control AF can make one feel as bad if not worse than the condition so it can be a long journey of trail and error. Few general doctors and for that matter not every cardiologist fully understands it and knows how to treat it so my advice would be to see a specialist in heart arrhythmias . An electrician rather than a plumber in other words. You wouldn't ask a plumber to re-wire you house after all now would you? I have been saying that for ten years or more and now at last somebody here has produces a poster to that effect.

The good news is that you are on warfarin, an anticoagulant , to reduce your risk of having a stroke as AF makes us more at risk in that respect. Life style changes have been said to help reduce the burden. A change to a more plant based diet, no caffeine or alcohol, reduction of stress, losing weight, gentle exercise etc are all things you can do for yourself to help but it must be said that there are still those with exemplary lives who develop the condition .

Do ask anything and I am sure somebody here will answer.

Oh and welcome to our world by the way.



Well done Bob straight from the shoulder Have had AF for over 20 years - in and out of hospital now for almost all those years!! The dreaded heart has been called very odd bug's or stomach problem something I had eaten etc.,etc. It was only just a few years ago a cardiac specialist in Kent mentioned AF - WHAT SORT OF BUG IS THAT THEN SAYS ME? SOMETIMES SINCE I HAVE WONDERED TO MYSELF "WHY DID I ASK THAT?" I do now know so much more-not too sure if that is good or not but I'm now in 2nd stage of this wretched thing-it's not easy but at least I'm on a waiting list for an op!!!! Will it work I ask - there is no guarantee there is but let's give it a go!!!! I'm a very determined old lady so I can only hope my life will be better for having av node ablation!!!! Hope this will help someone in our association.

Beat wishes to all who read this. Gillyflower 13


Thank you, Bob, for all the good information. I think fear of the unknown is the biggest factor. I've always been healthy and active. Now I'm 69, retired and feeling sad at my situation. Time to "get on with life."


Thank you.


Welcome to the forum Nemmie. Diagnosis of AF for me caused panic, fear, depression, anxiety . . . all the worries and miseries imaginable and extreme breathlessness and fatigue during episodes.

Have you seen a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist who specialises in heart rhythms? The way forward is to read all you can on the condition and the options open to you - the AFA website is an excellent source - through this link

Another aspect of AF is that it causes us to pass water copiously during episodes as the heart causes the body to shed salt (and water), leaving us dehydrated.

Most of my problems resolved eventually with knowledge and a good treatment plan which has controlled my AF for nearly 3 years. Diet, mild exercise and stress reduction are also important to help with a return to normal life.

Please ask anything you wish - this forum is a great source of help and support.



I haven't see reference to your comment bout shedding salt and dehydration. I assume the risk of this is not the same if you are in NSR but on tambocor?

I ask because I am suffering hard after getting dehydrated from drinking too much bottled water, which doesn't have enough minerals in it.

1 like

Above is a link to info about the peptide which is released by the stressed atria.

As far as I know, it doesn't happen in NSR but many people have 'silent' AF episodes and the increased weeing alerts them. If you search the top right box under Micturation, there are a few posts where it is discussed.


Thank you. I will keep learning a out this condition.


Welcome Nemmie !

I don't have much to add to what has already been said, but rest assured you are not alone in how you are feeling right now. Pretty much everyone who posts here as newly diagnosed (including me) is confused/worried/scared at first and understandably so. I had never even heard of AF until I was - tentatively at first - diagnosed and I was so worried initially.

What I have learned here is that 'knowledge is power' and understanding the condition goes a long way to alleviating those fears. Once you get your head round the idea that you have AF and that life is still worth living with the right medication and support you can feel a whole lot better than you do right now.

If you feel up to exercising - start very gently if need be - I think you may find that helps to lift your mood. Fresh air and sunshine always help me to feel better - so maybe try going for a gentle walk?

People here are really supportive and some are very well informed and whilst we can never offer medical advice there will always be someone who can answer any questions you may have. There's no such thing as a stupid question!


My mother is the one with afib for over 25 yrs now! She is 91 yrs old. She deals with the episodes by doing "square breathing" exercises and meditation. She has afib almost all the time now, but she remains calm as working herself up only causes her distress.

She is on a beta-blocker which cause her to be tired at times. She also takes eliquis to prevent clotting. She does okay at 91 yrs old as she just accepts what is. She used to approach this condition to find a cure, but really it is a condition that has to be managed. Once she stopped trying to "cure" herself, this cut down on her frustration and anxiety. There are many different ways to deal with this condition and your doctor will advise you. Teach yourself to remain calm would be my first recommendation. This has worked well for her.


Thanks nymima01 for your post.. Interesting to know about your mother - 91 yrs old and just accepts what is. I, too, am just a few weeks from 91 yrs and good to know your mother is still going strong. I like her living philosophy and believe that, too, will help me.



Thank you. Sounds like good advice.


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