2nd af attack: Hi I am 33 and have recently... - AF Association

AF Association

20,725 members25,421 posts

2nd af attack


Hi I am 33 and have recently been diognosed with af but it only seems to happen in the early hours of the morning.. it is all new to new as I had my second attack today but have had a cold.. I have also quit tobacco and caffeine as they thought this might be the culprits.. only link to the 2 attacks I have had are I've had a cold and been a bit chesty.. does anyone have advice as it is all new to me..

E.g what can trigger a attack what to stay clear of when ill and can throats sweets like so others cause af to come on

25 Replies

Artificial sweeteners would trigger my AF, so if your throat sweets had that in then that could have been the cause.


Thanks jean as it all new to me I am just trying to find out as much as possible as the hospital have not told me to much about it.. just that it will happen again. I have been given tablets pill in a poker form to see if that solves the next attack as the two I have had have been sudden and pretty full on blood pressure stays the same throughout but heart rate jumps between 180 and 240 both lasting for around 5 hours. was pretty scary first time as I had not had any other symptoms it just happen..

One of the worst triggers is STRESS. I suggest that you keep a diary of events, noting your bp and heart rate. You may find a link but, most important, you will have something to show your doctors.

Benji20k in reply to jennydog

I'm defiantly a culprit for stress and am working on that part of my life.. I was thinking of keeping a diary and like I said in the post the only things I can link to both attacks were throat lossengers, caffeine 2nd time around I only had one cup of coffee 15hrs before attack . And I have been ill on. It's occasions also stressed and worrying about the whole thing does not help I am a highly anxious person...

Hello Benji. There are lots of triggers and some of us can't find anything specific that sets us off.

The early morning thing is a common theme and for some of us if we wake up OK with no dodgy heartbeat we'll be OK all day. As you get used to your particular form of AF, it will feel less scary and you will begin to know what you can do and what is unwise.

The big things to remember are that, whilst it's not the best, it's a condition not a disease or illness, it's an electrical problem more than a faulty heart (though some have AF plus something else), the big risk is a stroke (though more likely for the over 65s) and AF might progress but it's not usually fatal. And there are ways to manage and control it.

Benji20k in reply to Rellim296

Thanks rellim it nice to know that it is quite common for people to suffer from af... and I'm not alone 😀.. Before I had my first attack (if that is the write word to use) I had never heard of it and I have 2 young children and as I am a worrier thought I might be bad news but reading up and speak to everyone here it's helped me a lot.. thanks for the replays everyone it has made me feel a lot better and worry less..

My names Ben by they way probably should of said that in the opening post

Parismay in reply to Rellim296

Can any one tell me what the difference is having aAF attack and having permanent AF which I've been told I have

Rellim296 in reply to Parismay

Some of us have a normal heart beat most of the time and then suddenly (often during the night) the heart goes into a chaotic irregular rhythm that tends to be fast or very fast.

People with permanent AF have an irregular beat all the time and many are not aware of it as it tends to be less violent than paroxysmal AF (i.e. AF that comes and goes). Everybody is different and we each have our own version.

There's also persistent AF which is an irregular rhythm that doesn't stop on its own (as paroxysmal often does) nor with an antiarrhythmic drug and will continue for days or weeks until the heart's rhythm is successfully reset by an electric shock. Permanent AF doesn't respond to this treatment.


Hi Ben, the fact is that you have AF. This can be due to a genetic pre-disposition or it can be acquired by over exercise (endurance athletes and fighter pilots). binge drinking or over use of ibuprofen amongst other things.

Once you have that pre-disposition the heart can do what it jolly well likes whenever it wants to with or without any triggers. Sadly it is almost always a progressive condition so finding the right treatment early is important. As others have said it is not life threatening but it is a pain in the a---. Frankly I would not have wanted to start on a lifetime of drugs at your age so getting the right balance now is vital. Life style changes can be very helpful and of course no alcohol, smoking, stress, caffeine etc. You may not live any longer but it will feel like it. lol

Please go to AF Association main website, read till you drop and then start asking pertinent questions of those treating you. Knowledge is power and will help you to understand this mongrel condition.

Benji20k in reply to BobD

Hi bob thanks for the reply I have woke up in a pretty feeling sorry for myself why always me sort of mood but I suppose this is normal and that fact that it is not life threatening helps me chill a bit.. I guess the part that's shocked me the most is that I seem to be pretty young for this condition but I have given up smoking caffeine and I don't drink alcohol anyway.. so sounds like I am on the right track.. do you have any tips on sleeping as I seem to be waking up a 20 times a night checking my pulse thinking that I'm about to have another episode or is it just something that gets better in time once I get my head around it all..

Cheers ben

UScore in reply to Benji20k

Hi Ben

I was diagnosed earlier this year, and also went through the period of feeling sorry for myself. I'm 40, and also felt too young for it to be happening. But although it's more common as you get older, it can happen to us youngsters too!

I still check my pulse a few times a day, but not the 800 times a day I did at first. Sleeping gets easier, particularly once you've seen a Consultant and have a plan in place for when it happens again.

I agree with the other advice I've seen given here; get your GP to refer you to an electrophysiologist (EP). My GP also arranged an Echo cardiogram at the hospital, which I had before the meeting with the EP, to give as much information as possible.

I also keep all the printouts of the ECGS I've had; of the 3 AF attacks I've had so far, and some normal readings. The more information you've got on your heart the more the experts have to work with when determining the best course of treatment.

Keep asking questions here. And let us know how you are getting on.

Benji20k in reply to UScore

Hi uscore how long have you had af now then? I had my first attack about 8 weeks ago and had my second one yesterday with my discharge summary saying I was in af with fast ventricular response.both times I have been ill with a chest or throat infection.. I am going to the docs today to get the ball rolling and I have been given nebivolol 2.5mg to take when the next attack occurs hopefully this will help next time. And save the hour journey to hospital every time as I live in cornwall and the main hospital is all the way down in Truro!!

Thanks ben

UScore in reply to Benji20k

It first happened late at night back in August, but I didn't go to hospital until the morning, and i felt it go away whilst in the waiting room.

I didn't get diagnosed until April this year, then had another attack in May. All times were late in the evening when relaxing.

Did they tell you what to do when it happens again? Obviously take the betablocker - but how long do you give it before going to hospital? Something to ask the Dr today perhaps. Although my Dr wasn't massively helpful, it was only when I saw a specialist that I started to feel more relaxed and in control of the situation.

I'm not a medical expert but I think nebivolol, a beta blocker, is just for rate control - it should stop the heart beating so quickly, but it isn't a rhythm control drug so might not stop the irregularity caused by AF. However I think it might calm things down a bit - which might be enough to stop the AF.

Once I saw an expert, and had a few tests to show my heart was structurally ok, I was also given a rhythm control drug (Flecainide) which I am to take when it happens again (Pill in Pocket). GPs can't prescribe this without the cardiologist's say so.

Keep reading as much as you can, I think it's a bit less scary when you see how common it is, and start to understand all the terminology and jargon everyone uses!

jondeanp in reply to BobD

Bob, when i explain my AF to people i always use the "fighter pilots & endurance athletes" line ;-)

Hi Ben, you are not alone, almost everyone affected by AF goes through many emotions and almost all of us find it difficult initially to understand whats happening to us and why. I guess this is even more of an issue when you are young and responsible for a young family. As others have said, whilst AF can be daunting, it is not all gloom and doom. You may be surprised to hear that there are around 800,000 folk in the UK alone who have been diagnosed with AF. It is believed there are around 250,000 or more who have AF, but don't know it and many with AF lead a relatively normal life. As has been said, it is generally understood by those who know about these things that nobody has died from AF, but it is important to understand the increased risk of stroke, although that generally impacts on the over 60's so you have a way to go yet!!! However, you would be well advised to understand all the different things you can do now to minimise the risk as you get older, and these generally revolve around lifestyle changes and where applicable, avoiding extreme sports which push you to the limit.

You will find lots of info here on the AFA webpage about medication, treatments etc etc and it is important that you find out as much about the condition as possible. We are not medically trained so we will not offer advice on medication, but it is generally accepted that the earlier treatments are considered, the more successful they are likely to be. GP's knowledge of AF can be a bit limited and even some Cardiologists do not fully understand or appreciate the effects the condition can have on some of us. An Electrophysiologist (EP) is a cardiologist who specialises in arrythmias (of which AF is the most common) and it would be a good idea for you to find out how you could be referred to one. The normal route can be a bit ponderous, but if you have access to private healthcare or can afford a private consultation, this may speed things up, but it is important you find out as much about AF as you can first.....sorry, a bit long winded, but not many of our fellow sufferers here are as young as you so just wanted to give you some sort of a steer. There are many here who will come up with lots of suggestions so you are in good hands......best wishes and dont be afraid to ask about anything you are not sure about.....John

Hi Ben

Welcome to our forum. Have you been taking any over the counter cold medication for your cold! These can trigger AF. Some have caffine, Ibroprofen ect in them and they are a no no for AF. Take only paracetamol and honey and lemon drinks (homemade).


Eating or drinking too much or late at night can prompt attack and any mono sodium glutamate too. Stess of course is a factor. Look at the YouTube videos of dr Sanjay Gupta from York a cardiologist. Take magnesium and Hawthorne and listen to the EP and get your heart checked out fully. Being ca parent is very stressful but it will get easier!

Your def not alone. This site is amazingly helpful and yes join the AF associ

Get an EP consultation as early as possible. I wasted 5 years trying to find reasons, triggers, etc, as the AF got steadily worse. Some drug regimes worked for a while but in my case a cryoablation has kept me drug free and AF free for 2½ years.

Any type of infection i.e. cold , flu , chest infection can bring AF to the fore .

There are a million triggers and they are different for everyone. My advice is to google google and then google some more. Learn about your complaint...this nasty little beast that causes so much drama and anxiety, and a lot of the medicos don't have a clue. They just dole out medication and cross their fingers. I wish every Dr and Cardio had AF...THEN they might understand.

There are a couple of excellent web sites, Stop Afib with Melanie Truehills, and my favourite afibbers.com

Learn all you can, eat well, supplements like Magnesium and Potassium are important.


I've tried to work out my triggers over the last 2.5 years, so far iv'e put it down to stress, being too hot, toothache and being awake.

Like Bob says, you could drive yourself mad (and very unhappy) trying to find the trigger.

I have AF, it can kick off at any time, it's scary when it does, it's not going to kill me - These are all things that I know.

I also know that I am doing what I can to stop it happening, eating healthily, not drinking too much trying to to sweat the small stuff etc etc.

Hopeful that the ablation I had worked and keeps me out of hospital for a good number of years

There seem to many things that can trigger AF. If my mom called or if my hubby was in a rough mood or if I didn't get good sleep and naps. Sometimes if I moved quickly enoughtto get short of breath it would trigger it.I even had it trigger while I was driving. Now I'm a bad case of arrhythmia. The only advicei have for you is to keep a journal of symptoms. Times and activities. I did that for a long time before they told me that my journal didn't matter because I was a moderate to severe case. Please don't let me scare you. You have to do what you know is best and talk to your doctor of every detail. I wish you the very best.

While in Emergency, I was told that an infection can cause the A Fib to be more pronounced. Also I noticed that eating foods that give indigestion wlll trigger tachycardia or A. Fib.

Mine (AF) always came on in the evening when I'm more relaxed ... using past tense as I'm hopeful that I'm not going to have more episodes.... I've not worked out my triggers but suspect stress. I don't have caffeine/alcohol/nicotine.

I was interested to hear the link between indigestion and AF . I've been on lanzoprazole for last 12 months and have recently had a camera down my throat ..... nothing nasty found; I guess the gp didn't make the link due to the lack of understanding of AF. Luckily my cardiologist is also an EP and has been fantastic and so reassuring.

Ben, I've learnt so much from this community and am taking in the advice.... especially about the time I need to recover from my ablation and to listen to my body. I'm just finishing my second week off work but know I am not ready to return to that stressful environment yet so am taking a further week off despite being off sick being an alien concept. I worked during my 24hr AF episode which resulted in a trip to a and e and them thinking I had an ITA. I won't make that mistake again.

You are also acting as I did in taking my HR constantly, I cried for days on diagnosis. I am gradually becoming more relaxed although do take HR readings up to 10 times per day presently but in part that's because I'm checking all is good following my ablation. I hope to get to a point where I only do it if I need to and not just to check.

This is definitely a journey, as has been said... knowledge is power.... read all you can, know you are not alone. Someone on here can answer all your questions... Wish I had know about this support earlier, it was my EP who advised my to join.

Good luck with everything.


Hi Ben,

My AF started about the same age as yours. I was equally fearful at first but it's not be so bad. I went for a few years in between at times, and now perhaps once a year. I'm 44 now

I try to live quite healthily, don't drink much, keep exercising. That seems to be keeping the episodes down.

I've learnt to accept it. We all get something and AF, although far from pleasant, isn't the worst thing either.

Meditate on impermanence :)

You may also like...