My World has changed.: Had a couple of... - AF Association

AF Association

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My World has changed.


Had a couple of 'events' at work on the buildings and mentioned them to the Council Health Nurse three weeks ago. She picked up my dodgy heart beat and launched me off to the Practice Doctor. She sent to the hospital and I am now on Bisoprolol and an anti coagulant.

All this a week before I retired at 59. My heart seems to have an ongoing erratic beat. Pulse is now around 90-100 and bp is 112/83.

I read the forums and bought some potassium supplements and magnesium as this seemed to be deficient from my normal diet.

Still waiting on the investigation to get to a cardiologist and then discuss further treatments.

Ive dropped a stone in weight in the past three weeks and have another two to dump. I have gone from drinking about 15 pints a week to maybe 4. Just hope I live long enough to spend all this money I am saving from beet and bad food.

Just want to say thank you to all of you who have shared your stories and lessened some of the terror that my wife and I are feeling as we take our first steps into this nightmare.

19 Replies

It is initially very very scarey but , in the long term one settles down . Just have to see what drugs suit you make sure ur GP and cardiologist listen listen to you. All the best!

Hi Jefferson and welcome to the forum. It's a shock isn't it when you're told you have something not quite right with the way your heart is beating. Quite a few people on this forum are constantly in AF and manage to live fairly normal lives, others have bouts of AF which can last from seconds to months. The good thing to remember is that people rarely die from this condition and it's possible to still live to a good age.

Changing to a healthier diet and losing weight, as you have, are both excellent ways of helping to stave off attacks. Forum members have reported how attacks have decreased since losing weight, eating more healthy and having smaller portions of food. I try to avoid any foods that contain artificial additives.

For a lot of people, me included, alcohol can trigger an attack and so I totally avoid it - truth is I'm too scared to have any now.

Feel free to fire away with any questions you may have and remember that there's no such thing as a daft one.


What a helpful and comforting post from an experienced sufferer! I hope Jefferson57 feels reassured. It is very weird and disconcerting to feel your heart doing odd things, but as you say, it’s rarely fatal and mostly just irritating.

I’ve had Hypothyridism and AF for many years although the AF seemed to go away and I came off meds (Flecianide and Digoxin) for it over five years ago. It started again two years ago but seemed to be linked to my Thyroxine being too high. We reduced it immediately and, by the time I got to see a cardiologist it had stopped. Typical! Even a 24hr ecg didn’t pick it up. Unfortunately it’s back since about six months ago (mild, but five days out of seven now, usually p.m., occasionally more severe and usually only lasts a few hours). Sometimes, when it’s bad, I end up having to urinate several times over a 60-90 minute period, then the AF fades and stops. Odd!

I've added magenseium into my supplements, reduced my thyroxine (feeling very tired) and am having one or two bananas a day, and take an extra 2.5 Bisoprolol if I feel it coming on. Not sure if anything is actually helping.

Anyway, I’m not trying to hijack this thread. Just to say I am seeing my GP on Tues so thinking I need to go back to the cardiologist. I’ll post a separate thread once I've seen her. Wish me luck. Alan

Thank you both. I am still exploring my illness and trying to measure it's severity in comparison to others.

My heart seems to 'flip' several times a minute on a permenant basis. This was either not noticed by me or didn't exist before I had several episodes of feeling dizzy and almost fainting.

Now it seems to be an ongoing occurrence. I have been on bisoprolol and an anti coagulant for six days now. No sign of symptoms abating.

When people mention 'attacks', are they referring to the fainting episodes or just the heart flipping?

Hidden in reply to Jefferson57

I think 'attacks' would be episodes when the heart is erratic and runs wildly. People experience AF in different ways and some (or perhaps many) who have it don't have fainting episodes. It's a very individual thing. You get to know your own brand and how to deal with it and there are several ways - like lifestyle changes - to lessen the impact. AF can be told to take a back seat in our lives.

AF is not an illness - it is a condition, and a quirk in the heart's electrical system. As CDreamer suggests, an Electrophysiologist is the person to see rather than an ordinary cardiologist.

As others have said, having AF can in fact goad us into healthy living with positive and beneficial effects.

Alancockerill in reply to Hidden

Electrophysiologist! I learn something useful every time I read a post on here. Seeing my GP next week I’ll try that one on for size see what happens.

Irregular heart beat I think. I have an app on my iPhone Called Cardiio where you just put your finger over the camera and light outlet on back of your phone. It then gives you your heart rate BMP and a picture of your heart rhythm. It’s a free app and very good for reassurance. Mike.

Firstly you are in the right place. Some good solid advice here if you take time to search. This condition affects people differently. Some have no symptoms, some just feel unwell, others can be bed ridden for days. Doctors by and large do not understand the condition, therefore when you state your attack symptoms, they look for other things that may cause them. With me an attack starts with upset stomach, chronic fatigue, falling asleep at any time, breathlessness, u like symptoms, aching body, Edima, then it disappears as quickly as it came on. Used to last a week, now three days. That said two months ago it lasted six weeks. So bad actually that I asked to be referred back to the EP. New GP who was reluctant. I forced the issue. I have now been Permanent AF, with Trial flutter, and abnormal arrhythmia. Got it all going on!!!!!!! 12.5 Bisoprolol, 320 mcg Digoxin per day. Came of Dabigatran but considering going back on it. Take care, learn as much as you can re your condition and know what you think are your triggers!!! That is the hard part. Best....

There is a search box top right where many of the questions you might want to ask have already been answered I found it very useful in the early days. I can reassure you that you have come to the right place as the people on here are brilliant and if they can help they will


Just to add to the above, there is a lot of useful information and fact sheets downloadable form AF Association main website. Love your attitude by the way. Positive thinking is so important.

jeanjeannie50 in reply to BobD

That's a really good point about positive thinking Bob, it can really work! I think we need to mention that a lot more on the forum.

There are also some excellent videos by a Doctor Sanjay Gupta he is a cardiologist from York these can be found on the search box and also on youtube

Keep looking at the positives, with retirement you can make changes to your lifestyle that are going to avoid the health issues in the future but it does take time to research and learn and patience to give it time to work - is it worth it, definitely for me. Good luck.

Hi Jefferson and welcome. Yes it can be very scary at first, read all of the literature from the AFA site and then learn as much as you can from your doctors and ask for a referral to a good cardiologist with Arrythmia specialisms often called EP - Electrophysiologist.

You are obviously doing the lifestyle thing so well done!

Please be very wary of supplements without professional advice. Magnesium is very hard to absorb but unless you have certain conditions will not do harm but Potassium could damage your kidneys so please do take advice. Ask your doctors for copies of your blood tests and every other test done and keep your own files if you are going to take supplements.

Remember that AF may be life changing, often for the better if making the changes you are, but is unlikely to be life threatening.

Best wishes


"Just hope I live long enough to spend all this money I am saving from beer and bad food."


Maybe the thought of retiring has brought this on and it may settle when you get used to it. I retired last year, and it's GREAT. I can't imagine doing that thing I used to do all day.....what was it called? Oh yes, "work", horrible.

Jefferson.... welcome to the madness ! This is a great site with good people who go thru the things and emotions u do. I'm 43 and was diagnosed with PAF 2 years ago. Luckily my attacks last about 2 hours but when they occur I have to go to hospital pretty much straight away ( give 15 mins before going to hospital) I've had 3 trips this year. Seems to me your lifestyle has caught up with u like it did with me. I've cut back ... you have to. But wat triggers it off for u will be unique and searching fir the trigger so I believe for the route cause is like trying to find a Needle in a haystack. But know your not alone and this site and the people on here can help with info along the way!

Hi Jefferson57, to answer your direct question: Some people go into permanent AF, either with fast heartbeats or slow. Very many though are like me, that have a short(ish) bout of fast AF followed by a return to normal sinus rhythm. This is known as Paroxysmal AF or PAF.

I had my first attack in May this year, which almost scared the life out of me. I didn't know anything about AF at that time, and thought I might die that day. My second attack was in July while I was away from home visiting a friend and had volunteered to drive some other guests back to their hotel. By that time I had joined this community on the forum and read a great deal about AF and understood that it wouldn't kill me directly, although I wouldn't want to get it while climbing a mountain or even on a building site. I rode that one out without medical assistance, and later told my GP. Both my attacks lasted about 8 hours, during the evening and into the night.

I have not identified any 'triggers', although I have some suspicions, and have proved to my own satisfaction that alcohol is not involved in my case (I'm a real ale fan and go to beer festivals).

HTH and good luck coming to terms with this weird affliction. BTW, I retired about 8 years ago and would never go back!

Potassium supplements are very hard to find in the UK as it is one mineral we all need, but too much really can be lethal. On the other hand, magnesium supplements are normally very safe (but check with your doctor that there is no reason why you personally should not take it) Actually potassium is contained in much that we eat, especially fruits and vegetables, so increasing these should provide you with all you need. Bananas are especially good.

Search on here for details of effective ways of supplementing magnesium, but avoid getting diarrhea as then we lose potassium, magnesium and other electrolytes too, which is not good for our hearts.

A good multi-vitamin-and-mineral tablet bought from a health food shop and taken every day for three months, will go along way to help your body, and may improve your health in other ways too, as it will provide you with any essential vitamin etc that you may be lacking at present, and so enable your body to make the maximum use of the magnesium you are taking.

Thank you kind all. Overwhelming support. Much to read, watch and learn. Off to look at Dr Gupta's videos on the topic.

Contemplating pushing this along private health route as it seems that the longer it goes on for, the less likely reversal is.



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