What Triggers Your AF - Idea

Would it be a good idea to create an AF trigger list on this forum where people can list (very briefly eg. perhaps one to three words) what triggers theirs off. Other members could then click on the list if theirs starts the same way and we could have a counter system to see just which are the main triggers.

A bit like this:



Lack of doing







Artificial Sweeteners



Perhaps we could have a list of what can halt our AF too. What do you think? Please don't shoot me down, though I'm sure there will be those for and against. This is just an idea that's popped into my head when answering a post on here.


62 Replies

  • I’m with you there Jean.

    Triggers -

    -moving after eating, I need to rest for 30mins.

    -overdoing things

    - lack of sleep & good rest

    -stress or excitement - both on adrenaline continuum

    - uncontrolled underlying conditions

    - HR exceeding 120-130


    - breathing exercises

    - daily Mindfulness & Meditation Practice

    - Energy Medicine - various

    - not worrying about AF

    Stop an episode

    - vasovagal manoeuvres - blowing into syringe, bearing down, splashing cold water on face, lifting legs abruptly (need partner).

  • Yep, great additions CDreamer and I'm sure both of us and others will have lots more.

  • I would tick a lot of the things you have suggested.

  • I think they are common to many - thought I would get in early LOL!

  • Really good idea, had been told there that"it justhappened" by my consultant, too many times I did try and analyse


    Sulfites, dehydration, very irregular meals ,very large meals with no exercise too much stoge or potatoes

    Possibly alcohol dont drink enough to test

    Stopping and relaxing after a very busy day , or task


    Viral infection, being generally unwell that a definite

    Long term use of som arrythmics ( work fine for a while then seem to trigger frequent episodes)

    Lots of additives in food

    Ways of stopping it

    Haven t found a good one yet

    go to bed, sleep having taken whatever pip you favour

    My labrador has a calming influence, and once stroking him stopped it instantly ( coincidence - dont know -but it worked that time

    Sitting up for a while whilst it calms down

  • Not worrying about AF is the one controlling factor for us all, I think. How do we do it?!

  • CBT, Mindfulness, Meditation Practice, Distraction..........

  • Excellent idea.


    Alcohol - more than 1 small glass of wine

    Walking up a steep hill

    Stress or excitement

    Sleeping - not sure why.Perhaps low blood pressure, sometimes feel faint on waking or perhaps had a bad dream


    Very slow ,deep breaths especially in fast AF .That's contradictory and not easy to do.

    Iced water

    Frozen packet of peas or similar on the back of the neck

  • I would be interested to see if anyone else has the first reason I will list.

    I can't be certain of any of the 'triggers' because they don't always trigger AF so any connection could be purely coincidental and some episodes started when I was standing still or just after getting up in the morning.

    Swallowing food




    The first ever recognisable episode followed extreme physical activity .

    Halting...Not known but staying calm certainly makes me feel less anxious and that has to be good for my body as a whole.

  • doodle68 very similar to you in that mine has started completely out of the blue e.g. sitting quietly reading or writing . Also stress , good or bad, and overtiredness will maybe start off an episode when either jyst going off to sleep or waking in early hours .

    I've never in almost 25 years found a way of halting my attacks. ....just try to relax with deep breathing if possible .


  • I would agree with coughing. I just recovered from flu and bad chest and it triggered my AF the like of which I hadn`t seen for over a year.

  • Sleeping

    Bending over

  • Hi jeanjeannie50 :-) an interesting thread , maybe when we have a number of replies to list a poll could could be added 'What do you think might trigger your AF'...

  • MSG, alcohol, dairy food, full tummy, burping, gluten

  • I don't seem to have a definite trigger, such as food, alcohol, or exercise. However I have noticed a couple of recurring themes:

    Dehydration - definitely.

    Indigestion/over eating - possibly.

    I'm also still monitoring the possibility that I'm vulnerable 1-2 days after particularly intensive exercise.

  • Dehydration definately.

    Jean I will make list & post as it will be useful for my talk.

  • me too! I feel fit do a lot of strenuous gardening etc and the next day boom! not whilst i'm doing the gardening which is strange its always the day after!

  • I agree, it is not during. It is after you stop. I came home from work on three different times from a long day, sat down in my chair and was “whew” within 10-15 min there it was! I am like, oh no....because mine does not convert without cardioversion.

  • Hey Jean, I think that's a brilliant idea! Just sayin' and thinking out loud, is this something moderators need to advise on.


  • I think Admin would have to be the ones who create it and then we could add and tick the ones that have an effect on us.

  • Great idea Jean - it will read like a small dictionary I think!

    Alcohol, reaching above head, bending forward, sugar, chocolate, fussing, being too warm, food additives.

  • Hi All. I like and support the idea of creating a survey of triggers and cures.

    About 6 months ago I went through my notes on about 150 AF episodes I'd had in 7 years. Many of my triggers are on the list mentioned in this thread. In my case eating/digestion was the main trigger, so occurs when my pulse is slowing.

    Now I'm trying to counter this by doing the opposite as soon as I get any indication things are not quite right. By this I mean I try to raise my pulse. Simply walking around is working over half the time.

    But when I can't avert the episode with a pulse 140-150 bpm, initially I relax for a few hours and do yoga breathing exercises which slows my pulse (I choose in particular slow exercises which use the diaphragm as I think they may massage the stomach). After this period when my pulse gets down consistently below about 110-120 bpm I'll take a walk round the block at about 2 to 3 mph, so not too fast. It's moderately successful in self reverting.

    If my AF was triggered by say exercise, I would rest and eat something before the AF takes hold. Haven't actually tried this but next time I will.

    I hope people can see the connection I make between the trigger and counter-measure. By stimulating the heart to do the opposite of what it wants. Has anybody else tried this idea?

  • Interesting theories. I agree digestion is a common one, hence many eat smaller meals.

  • Perhaps if we draw up a list first, picking out the most common ones here, then post to admin and ask for poll?

  • Yes, that's the idea. However, we mustn't omit the more obscure ones just because we don't suffer from them as lots of others may well do so. Perhaps admin will respond and advise.

  • STRESS is my trigger (weirdly just after a crisis has passed, now what does that say I wonder, something about change in adrenaline I suspect).

    STOMACH , vagal nerve stimulation i think. Also triggered by certain foods like Chinese meals, pork, nuts in my case.

    Only resolution is either flecainide pip or intravenous flecainide

  • Yes, I read AF occurs when Vagal Tone is highest, which is 24-36hrs AFTER a stressful activity, poor sleep or other exceptional issue. I won't bore you with my theory on why this might occur but I think I understand the basis linked to the Parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Stress/Adrenaline.

    Extreme tiredness.

    Red wine.

  • Pressure on heart/lungs, diarrhoea (guess salts imbalance?)

    Fix - relaxation?

  • Great idea - here are mine -

    Triggers -

    No 1 - any sort of virus or infection!

    Red Wine 🍷 And most alcohol - can tolerate a small beer but no more than 2

    Stress/ fatigue / lack of sleep

    Chinese food and highly spiced food

    Heavy meals / over-eating

    Going to bed on full stomach

    Cola of any type

    Artificial sweetener and colouring

    Too much or too little exercise (still experimenting with this one)

    To stop an episode-

    Standing upright and walking around (rather than lying down)

    Yoga breathing exercises

    Meditation/ mindful breathing

    Eat a banana

    If all else fails resort to Flecainide!!

    I guess we all develop strategies to try and avoid an AF episode and also to deal with the episodes that break through. It will be interesting to see what people come up with and hopefully some useful tips and strategies to try ourselves.

    This is such a powerful and empowering forum, I am so glad I signed up!!


  • Ah - I forgot the devil that seemed to start it all ten years ago -

    breathing in solvents - white spirit and turpentine I used in my painting.

  • Solvents do it for me too - oil painting and heating up ingredients to make wood polish for my craft work - triggers AF within an hour.

  • I think this does it for me too.

  • I forgot that one! I was in hospital waiting for an ablation and the lady in the next bed preceed to slap a full pot of Vick vapour rub all over herself . (Why ? ) I quite like the smell but my heart definitely did not. Other strong smells and chemicals have been triggers as well

  • Triggers:

    The aftermath of stress, arguements particularly


    Breathing bleach fumes

    Sudden shock/fear





  • Stress

    Alcohol...even a shandy in my case......



    Fix, albeit temporary until next time.....



    And so far Ablation number 2!

  • Triggers:

    Stress / anxiety

    High intensity exercise (sometimes)


    High intensity exercise or anything that gets my HR over 160

  • Digestion problems and eating triggers it. Especially food high in fats, gluten, fried food. I am 100% sure. They go hand in hand.

  • Yes, I believe reducing gluten by 90% has been a big player in stopping my AF. I think gluten overloads a weak digestive system and if you have vagally mediated AF goes on to trigger it.

  • This is a great idea and very helpful.


    1 sip of fizzy alcohol

    Shock, fright, fear

    Stress, anxiety



    Haven't found one yet

  • Triggers

    If I lie down in the evening

    Sitting with hands folded across my stomach


    Drinking crushed iced drink through a straw (happened once, afib started immediately have never drank crushed ice again!).

    My episodes occur randomly averaging about once a month for between 4&9 hrs never in the day apart from the crushed ice.

    Haven't found anything to stop them apart from flecainide pip. Walking and moving around the next morning stops it after a while but if I try that in the first hours of an attack it doesn't generally just let it run its course.

  • Seems a lot of common denominators


    added MSG - particularly in Chinese foods

    Sulfides in any alcohol over 10 ppm ( Cider and Red Wine mainly )


    Soya Sauce

  • Have been very lucky so far, only had one really bad episode which required A&E. Brought on by sleep, a high temperature and dehydration.

    The rest of the time if my HR rises significantly during walking I just stand still until it drops again. Unfortunately taking longer now to do this each time.


  • Hi Hylda, I am 69 years old and last year I had my first AF and required A&E. I took medication but seven months ago I stop taking it because of the side effects and also I want to know the frecuency and intensity but I did not have another one yet,

    cross fingers. I swim and walk five times a week without a problem.


  • Sounds good. I stopped the Bisoprolol and the Felodipine but too scared to give up the Pradaxa. I’m 74 and try and walk 5 miles a day but have asked Father Christmas for an electric bike.


  • Triggers for me are,

    Exertion, dehydration ,eating meals late ,sometimes cheese ,Chinese meals ,overeating, wine anxiety ,they always start in the late afternoon or evening, and now go through the night until about ten am next day,Its good that we can see each others triggers,

  • Great idea.



    Over-exertion e.g. fast walking, carrying heavy weight, bending over too fast

    Hunger, lack of food


    Haven't found one, but have to stay still or gets worse

  • Any alcohol, except 1 small glass of beer

    Caffeine, even chocolate candy

    Grapefruit, pamela



  • I recently had a meeting with my EP and Cardio ( who also happens to be my brother in law), the most interesting issue discussed was that the biggest cause of AFib,according to both specialists was sleep apnoea,followed by excess alcohol consumption, Mild/severe Aortic stenosis and diabetes (Type 2).Most novel way to stop early onset Afib was to dunk your face into a basin of iced water.. Apparently this "remedy" was very much in use many years ago!!

  • Novel and as has been said here can be effective, I would certainly try it as I know I have felt better before retiring at night to splash my face with very cold water, which I put down to the dive effect/mental/Vagally mediated AF.

  • How many of us suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, High cholesterol levels, sitting still too long, Lack of regular moderate exercise - a mile a day or 10,000 steps on your fitbit? being overweight? Food intolerance producing bloating eg lactose intolerance?

  • Yes, would be good to have those things on our trigger list too.

  • Great idea .

    First on my list. WINE

  • Constipation for me,perhaps because I have IBSc

  • Great idea-the lists of triggers and fixers. Hopefully it would be correlated with history and medications.

  • Jean. Love this idea. Mine was brought on by excertion but not during the activity but 20 to 30 minutes after I stopped. First time I was jogging which was weird because I have been jogging off and on a few weeks before. Just came on out of the blue. I do slow deep breathing to relax but I went to ER and they converted rhythm with medication and the third time I was cardioverted.

  • Hi everyone

    What a great idea:

    Triggers (always in bed at night):

    Laying on left side at night will instantly trigger (I wondered if those who havie said sleeping triggers, if it was when they turned in their sleep).

    After several sleepless nights (which are usually caused by worry, stress, anger, etc)


    If I cannot clear it in 1 or 2 hours by relaxing, etc

    I take an extra Bisoprolol. (My normal morning dose is 2.5 mg.) then rest and sleep. (I used to be on Atenalol, and did the same with that.) It always works within about an hour, evidently it is not a normal cure, but as I am on less than the maximum dose, it is ok.

  • I didn't know I had AF until a few years ago, and perhaps I am one of the lucky ones in that the only symptom I have when in AF is my pulse is irregular. I am still able to do exercise and lead a normal life. My cycle of AF was one week in AF, one week normal heart beat. I had an ablation 8 weeks ago, and since this I have only been in AF for 8 days.

    I have had loads of theories over what causes it and these are some which I know have caused my heart to go out of Rhythm

    Alcohol - even one gulp can trigger it, although other days I can have several drinks with no issue

    Some spices

    very large portions of food

    Not drinking enough fluid or water

    Lowering of the pulse rate - I am on betablocker and monitor my heart rate with a fitbit. If I have a normal rhythm, my heart rate used to slow on a daily basis. When it reached 51 or 50, it used to trigger AF. Heart rate increased back to 68-70 and could include racing heart rate of 140 for a couple of days, then start levelling out before going into normal rhythm.


    My AF used to disappear on its own after 7 days normal activity. Even a night out with Alcohol, I have woken the next day and my AF has gone

    I guess there are still lots of theories on the causes, but touch wood, mine might be on the decrease, now I have had the ablation. I have a holiday coming up which will be a test - I will report back after this

  • What about ice-cold drinks? Of the 5 episodes of PAF I've had, four were caused by gulping a cold drink too quickly. The fifth had no apparent cause.

  • I dont know I only had one AF about a little more than a year ago. Seven month ago i stop the medication only taking blood thinner I am 69 years old. Does any have experience having only one AF?

    thanks Corina

  • Hi Corina, you need to create your own post and put this question to the forum as this message is unlikely to be seen at the bottom of this old post.

    Go to the top right hand side of this page and click on the 'create post' icon.

    Best wishes.


  • Can I extend this a bit? I have persistent af, so I just go by an increased 'thumping' ! The two things I've found that cause this are: stress, and more than one small glass of wine.

    Coffee and chocolate don't seem to have any noticeable effect - well, not at reasonable quantities anyway. I can't do vigorous exercise as I just become too breathless (I'd love to go jogging again). But as long as I stay stress free and watch the alcohol, I mostly forget I've got af.

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