Introducing myself

Hi guys & girls, I have just signed up and thought I’d post to say hi. I’m not going to run through my case with you all as it’s identical to so many I’ve read on here already. In short, I’m 39 years old, been having palpitations for over a year. Back in April my AF (which I didn’t know was AF or even what AF was at this point) was really bad. I panicked and went to A&E. Was told at first it was a heart attack as my enzyme level had risen. After a few days of tests, echo scan & angiogram was told it was AF. I am naturally a very anxious person and this has got a lot worse after the shock of it all. I can go a week or 2 without AF but then out of the blue it can come on and wipe me out for the afternoon/ evening. I’m on the usual pills for it from the doctors. I’d love to know if it’s anxiety that triggers my AF or AF that triggers my anxiety.

Anyway, that’s enough from me.

5 Replies

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  • Anxiety triggers adrenaline which triggers AF. AF can be very upsetting and so trigger more anxiety. When you've learned to manage it and so put it back in its box, then the anxiety will decrease and so will the AF. For many years I found the best way to stop an attack was to forget about it! As I relaxed doing something absorbing so the adrenaline disappeared from my system and so did the bout of AF. Sadly it is no longer so accommodating!

  • At risk of oversimplification there are two roads to take; the first is continue with your existing lifestyle and you will almost certainly be offered an ablation, which could be successful. The second is change lifestyle, diet and take supplements to postpone an ablation, albeit with some medication to stabilise you initially.

    Personally, I favour the latter and from what you have said it should make you healthier all round not just push AF back in its box. Good luck.

  • AF and anxiety are common bedfellows but I would not say each is a cause of the other. A non anxious person can have AF after all.

    Read all you can especially from AF Association fact sheets etc as knowledge is power. Look long and hard at your life style. Loosing weight is a good start for most of us and cutting out all alcohol. smoking, reducing reliance on meat products and moving to a more plant based diet have all been shown to reduce AF burden. Yes AF is usually progressive and there is the old saying AF begets AF but taking charge of your life can either slow down or even halt this progression.

    I think it true to say that any treatment is about improving quality of life (QOL) as there is no cure for AF. Symptoms may be halted but the underlying causes remain unless we do something about them,. Look into methods of reducing anxiety. Self hypnosis. CBT, mindfulness etc can all be beneficial.

  • Superb advice in the posts before mine :)

    Just wanted to say welcome - I'm so sorry you've had to go through such a stressful and anxious time, and we all on here know how hideous and incapacitating the whole thing can be.

    But it's onwards and upwards from here - and you've got a bunch of fantastic people on this forum who'll travel it with you, which in my experience makes all the difference.

    So, welcome :) x

  • Hello Wreford2000, here’s my personal experience in case it is of any use. I am 37 y/o old male. I was diagnosed with AF in July this year after completing my first ultra marathon (must have pushed my heart too far on this occasion). I didn’t take well to the news. I lost my source of endorphins and quickly developed anxiety and panic attacks. I was getting lots of physical symptoms which I thought were caused by my AF, but through experimenting with various drugs, we worked out that most of my problems were anxiety related. Diazepam was the main drug we used but it left me feeling horrendous and in a deep depression that thankfully only lasted a few days. Overall though, the experiment was a success and I started to feel a lot better. But then I was hit with a financial trauma and I began to tumble again. My stress was palpable, and my heart was in and out of AF every day. I felt like I couldn’t go on any longer like this, so I finally asked my GP if I could go onto some anti-depressants. She agreed, and from last Wednesday, I started my course. Within 2 days, I felt normal again, my heart returned to rhythm and has remained there ever since. It’s early days, but I can say 2 things in my case – my AF is definitely aggravated by stress; and anti depressants have made a huge difference to my mind and body. Still a long way to go in my journey though.

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