AF Association
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Living in Afib

HI everyone, I am new to this website, but looking for some support and guidance. I am 54 and have had afib for years. I was never on blood thinners as the doctor told me I was at low risk for a stroke because of age and no other health conditions. Well, he was wrong. I had a stroke in August of this year. I have no disabilities, thank goodness. I am on Eliquis and Sotalol now. The doctor tells me I need to exercise and lose weight. I was scared to start exercising because I am in and out of afib all the time. I wore a heart monitor for about a month. My heart rate does get up high when I'm in afib and exercising but the doctor tells me to continue doing the exercise and just slow down a bit. He says it's ok as long as I feel ok. It scares me to death (causing some anxiety and panic about having another stroke), but I'm doing the best I can and slowly getting through it. I have a possible ablation in the near future. Dr. wants me to lose quite a bit of weight before he does it. Wish me luck. This is a super hard process for me. Any words of wisdom, about ablation, life after a stroke and exercise while on afib would be helpful.

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Hi dgold

To begin with, could you share a little about your background. A mini bio so that we can frame our opinions.

What finally drove you to join up?

You ask about life after stroke, but say you have no disabilities. What is it that scares you to death, exercising because you fear it will cause another stroke? Your Eliquist will protect you.

Information about ablation is available at the AFA link top right. How to interpret that information, and to share the experiences of a thousand ablatees (?) is available at the click of your mouse.

This is a community with untold depths of knowledge, collective wisdom and support. Take your time to tell us about yourself and your concerns in as much detail as you care to share, so that we in turn can best help you.

Welcome to the site.

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Well, I am 54 and have had afib since my 30s. It was not bad, it would just occasionally bother me and then it would be in regular rhythm again. I have always been overweight and in times when I have lost weight I have had less problems with the afib. In the past few years I have gained a lot of weight and again had a lot of problems with afib. I complained to the doctor and he changed my medication from flecainide to Multaq. It seemed to help, but obviously not, as a few months later is when I had the stroke. I know the blood thinners are supposed to help avoid another stroke but I still fear that possibility and I believe the fear is holding me back from recovering somewhat. I have changed medication to Sotalol but it does not appear to be helping (maybe just a little). At the moment my afib seems to be ok if I am sitting or relaxing. Exercising seems to be what sets is off - even if I am just doing casual walking. My heart rate sometimes goes up to 160 or 170 when exercising and in afib and that scares me. I wore a monitor for a month and the electrophysiologist could see what was going on but told me to continue to exercise and lose weight before ablation. I know my anxiety and panic are not helping the situation but can't seem to get past it. I'm seeing a therapist for some help.

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Well that is very helpful dgold. I understand you much better and I feel you have landed in just the right place.

Are you on a statin?

Do you feel able to share your CHA2DS2-Vasc score?

CDreamer 's amazingly comprehensive opening reply has left me with little to say at this stage. Only to add that the stats suggest your risk of further stroke are hugely diminished with your AC, and will fall even further as you shed the weight.

The Atkins diet drove my weight loss of 3 stone in 12 months, and has prevented any bounce back. Mark Sisson's and his caveman diet have taken centre stage for me now and I was delighted when the eminent Dr Jonathan Hill at Guys told me that all the nonsense about cholesterol levels was well, just that - nonsense. That I could eat as much animal fat as I liked, as long as I continued my Statin.

Another story, another place.....

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Hi mate,

Whats your weight if we may ask. I had an ablation last year and believe me, I don't have the figure of John Statham 😀

Though

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Would that be the less well known Statham brother from Bangkok? 🙂

And how did you know about my Nepalese ganja? 🤔

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Your reputation preceeds you, beyond the borders of the Himalayan Kingdom 😀 and we got currently 32C in Bangkok 😉

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I don't want to say my weight, but he wants me to be about 250 pounds or less.

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Then I would urge you to get professional help to lose it, sooner rather than later. It is a very hard thing to do and you need support.

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Hi,

Good to hear you are on anticoagulants now. It's important to lose the weight before ablation - one EP told me he felt bad ablating a very overweight patient as he knew AF was likely to return because of the weight. Getting to a healthy weight will also reduce the chances of future strokes ( leaving AF out of the equation)

Exercise is fine as long as you feel OK while you do it- just be sensible and ease up if you feel it's too much. Walking is actually very good and you will lose weight if you eat sensibly and walk a long way.

Let us know how you get on please

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Hi and welcome.

Exercise means different things to different people. I wouldn’t want to be going for the ‘burn’ with a history of stroke and AF. Exercise under specialist, cardio rehab certainly - I assume you will have some follow up information and referrals from the stroke unit?

Frankly I am not so sure I would have that much confidence in your doctor (GP or EP?) if he had been mine.

Having said that lifestyle changes are definately the way to go before considering ablation - the four pillars programme - nutrition and diet - weight loss may be appropriate as well as limiting alcohol consumption if you inbibe; exercise - appropriate and graduated to your circumstances; rest - good sleep patterns; stress and anxiety management. But you need specialist help and support so please seek that from a cardio rehab specialist rather than try to do it on your own. This should be available with a referral from your GP at a local Leisure Centre - in the Uk.

Worry and fear will only increase your AF symptoms and therefore seek some help in managing these - again appropriate help and support. I would recommend Human Givens as a good place to start

hgi.org.uk/useful-informati...

Ablation can help but it isn’t a cure all and I still have AF, albeit much less symptomatic, after 2 ablations.

As Badger says - the anti-coagulants help lower your increased risk of stroke from AF but as no-one has a crystal ball, living with uncertainty is part of living with AF and we need to find a way of dealing with that.

My EP told me that 20-30 minutes of moderate walking is enough to help for Heart health but that won’t help you lose weight - curbing your intake of calories and appropriate nutrition is the only way of doing that. No sugars, drastically reduce carbs and increase fibrous green leafy veg, protein and healthy fats help you to feel full and to keep healthy but again - ask for specialist help if you struggle with this.

As someone else said earlier today in another thread - no 2 AF sufferers respond in the same way - you are the expert on you and the doctors are the experts in physiology and treatments. Inform yourself and become an active participant in your recovery to being as well as you can be. Only you can do that.

Best wishe CD.

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Hi and welcome aboard!!!!

I am 55 had afib 12 years of diagnosis on wait list for ablation!! I too am told I’m low risk of stroke but it does worry me that I’m not on antigoagulants !!

Exercise in moderation is good for you you will know your limitations you only have to do enough just to get the heart rate up a bit regular walking at a slow pace is exercise to don’t need to go to a gym and workout

The past 2 years I’ve managed to lose 3 stone 4.5lb it’s not been easy but I’ve not been on a diet I do food optimising which is a complete new way of life a healthy eating plan by doing slimming world you can lose loads of weight whilst eating loads of food so if you want a recommendation then I highly recommend slimming world you can go to a local group or join online but group is best snd at the moment there are offers on in I think it’s bella magazine where you don’t pay the joining fee!!

By losing weight you will reduce your risk of further stroke too!!

I wish you all the best whatever you decide to do and this is a brilliant group on here there’s always someone who can help

Hazel

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I would query why youare not on anticoagulants

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I am a 72 year old male. Last August I was cadioverted at A +E and the doctors there put me on apixaban although my GP had to write up the long term prescription. I have a long history of arrithmya although there appears to be some debate as to whether it's SVT or Afib. Maybe both ? Since the cardioversion I've made three other trips to A + E with pulse rates of about 170 BPM. The staff at A + E became progressively less pleased to see me and in the last occasion the nurse was quite unpleasant. However if my BPM is very high for any period, say 30 mins or more J shan't hesitate to darken their door again. My experience with the medical profession and Afib is that some doctors haven't a clue, their knowledge seems to be limited to the basic definition of afib , i.e. irregularly irregular heartbeat .

In the meantime I've lost a lot of weight (15kg) and still losing. I did this by cutting out bread and all wheat products, also virtually all processed food (baked beans, corned beef, and instant potato excepted) I don't drink alcohol or caffein. I do think that certain types of food incl. Cheese bring on afib and also that my afib is vagal related. I eat meat, virtually all vegetables lots of nuts (unsalted), fruit also take Magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, L carnitine and D ribose as recommended in Dr Sinatra's book 'The Sinatra Solution' - although I did ask the doctor if I could take this stuff - he said yes but it wouldn't make any difference !?.

I don't bother about calories and avoid low fat yoghurt and the like.

Since being on this regime my heart rhythm has improved and I feel better with more energy.

I'm scheduled for a one week holter later this month and then possibly a cardio appointment.

Over the years 30+ I be seen a few doctors and cardiologists and none of them seem to agree on precisely what the right course of treatment. Reading of other people's experiences tells me that I'm not alone. Finding Dr Sanjay Gupta online was a great help.

I don't want to have an ablation unless absolutely necessary and I hope that my current slow improvement will continue as I maintain the diet regime.

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Hello DGold, I am also a 54 year old male. I have persistent afib for few years now but did not know it until my last medical checkup. Because of my low risk, my primary doctor told me to take a baby aspirin once a day, but a second doctor told me to take anticoagulant. I exercise and run very often, and I feel real good after exercise. Even though I don't have any symptoms, I'm still thinking of having an ablation soon. Hopefully, after the procedure that I don't have to take blood thinner medications and have my heart back to normal sinus. If losing weight reduces your afib episodes, you should make an effort. Besides reducing your afib episodes, it will help you with other medical issues. Wish you luck.

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Welcome ti the Club. As long as you take Eliquis, the risk of having a stroke is greatly reduced. You should get over your fear and exercise with moderation. Lack of exercise will put at more risk of other health problems.

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Hi. I'm fairly new to the site also. My husband is scheduled for his first ablasion in February. Sotalol hasn't helped him either. He's in AFib more than out. He also gets scared and anxious at times and will most likely not be able to return to truck driving which is what he's done for 40 yrs. He is 60. So I have no words of wisdom (sorry). But know that you're not alone and I'll post how his ablasion goes.

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hi Im in the club too trying to loose weight after some symptoms returning about 9 years after ablation after a very stressful year. I am 53 next month and am quite voluptuous and again have been told to loose the weight. The anxiety is a big part of my issues but Im trying hard. I have had CBT loosing weight and have gone back to work after some time off , the symptoms are there but im tying to keep going , its hard and i find when the sleep is bad the bumps in the night are too, I am hoping to reduce my work hours get more rest and am seeing the cardio again in 6 months, together we will loose some eight and taking one step at a time keep going together, best wishes xx

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Thanks Gillyflower, when you had ablation were you overweight at the time? Did the procedure go well and no further problems with afib until now? Can I ask why you were off of work? Did this have to do with your afib? Yes definitely, we can only work on one day at a time. Thanks for sharing your story with me.

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Hi Hun, I was oFf work as after ten years the heart was doing loads of extra beats and the stress rather than the heart was knacks ring me. I had been beaten up by a child a lot last year and the stress caught up with me ,

My weight was good when I had my abalation and it was well worth having , my heart doesn't race just gets out of rhythm and at the most this lasts a couple of hours. it is the not knowing when that does my head in but I am living with it, on a phased return to work and going for it much love x

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