AF Association
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Alcohol

After my first AF attack 4 years ago I have cut my alcohol intake down considerably but due to mine and my wife’s social life, tended to “over do it” at weekends. Many times I have gotten away with it and not suffered with any attacks but inevitably it does catch me and I have one. This tends to have been happening more lately. We went on holiday for New Year so with Christmas festivities and holiday festivities, I tended to have drank more than I normally would. For this, I have had attack after attack, some lasting 12 hours some lasting 15 minutes. I actually experienced one Four days in a row. I always take a flecainide pill but it did worry me. On the 5th Jan, I decided to not have any alcohol for a while, I have now gone just over two weeks and have not suffered a single attack. Coincident? I don’t know. I have a cardiologist appointment on 31st Jan so I will put it to them. I think I know what they will say.

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So do I!

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I think you know the answer without talking to your EP.

Pete

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You've answered your own question. I was a regular drinker all my life and went tee-total about 5 years ago. My wife did as well and it took a long time, but we both feel better and cleaner.

All our friends are drinkers and socially we thought it would be difficult, but to be honest it hasn't been. Interestingly, our closer friends have also started drinking less and are even showing signs of becoming tee-total themselves.

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Matches my story although I am only three years clean; I can hand on heart say I don't miss the drink which is my biggest surprise and enjoy pouring drinks for others at a dinner party knowing I am reducing my risk of an AF episode. For me it is diet I have to watch and know take away Thai and Indians ( my favourite ) are completely out and even find missing a meal can be a trigger, I guess a long lesson in knowing your own body!

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Why Thai and Indian food?

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Sorry for the late reply. Not really sure with the Thai , maybe the salt in the fish sauce and with the curry I am guessing the ghee, but I know they affect me , sadly.

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I don't think most people care what you drink.Just have a glass of something (water,etc) in your hand and join the party.

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The cynics amongst us would say that you are taking Flec to calm your AF so that you can carry in drinking!

Alcohol and coffee don't affect me but some foods do. So I changed my food intake ( with the guidance of a Nutritionist) and have been AF free since April 2015. Not saying I'm cured, I don't believe I am as my left atria is damaged and this will predispose me to AF and to the likelihood of a stroke. But I've at least calmed the beast.

Good luck.

John

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Hi I would be interested to know what your nutritionist suggested regarding food intake?

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Hi Jill,

Need to start at the beginning. My symptoms at the time were massive, massive bloating, intestinal gurgling, burping and diahorrea. not all at the same time, any would occur at random and in isolation. Massive, massive bloating was the worst, very painful and would be the one to trigger AF. It was also the most frequent. This bloating brought about a sensation of heaviness in my chest. When my chest was 'heavy' (as in weighing heavy) I knew I was heading down the slippery slope to oblivion. When my chest was 'light' ( as light as a feather) I knew I was normal. Before consulting the Nutritionist I did see my GP who ran blood tests for Coeliac Disease and IBS - all came back clear. He wanted to do more invasive tests but I declined.

The Nutritionist conducted some simple tests and suggested going gluten free and wheat free. She also suggested I look at the FODMAPS diet. She encouraged me to keep a simple food diary to help identify a wider range of foods that may be a problem. It proved to be a great methodology for a more analytical approach to identifying problem foods.

So, out went gluten, wheat, oats, yoghurt, raspberries, runner beans, peas, baked beans, soft cheeses, any hot spicy food, msg, wholemeal or any grainy bread, pork, duck, onions ( yet spring onions/shallots are fine), all salad greens maybe except 'Rocket'. Tomatoes I can only take very infrequently. Jury is still out on eggs, but they are suspect.

However, it isn't just these foods in isolation that are the problem I am also convinced it is how these food ingredients interact with each other. Why would Raspberries and cream be a problem, yet, Strawberries and cream be just fine. Cream doesn't affect me, be it thick or clotted or single cream.

I have to say though, this all represents ME, others may be affected by a different range of foods and perhaps in slightly different ways. For me its all still a work in progress, even now after over 6 years - its all about developing an awareness of foods and food types.

Anyway, I hope this is of interest.

John

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Thanks John

Very interesting. I have many of those same problems with digestion and have had lots of tests. Having colonoscopy and endoscopy in a few weeks to rule out anything sinister and if all is well, I will certainly look into the nutrition side of things. Thank you for all the information I find anything with too much fibre often upsets me but it is hard to pin down which foods are a problem - must keep a diary. Thanks for your informative reply

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I think you will find that what food effect one person doesn’t effect another so it’s a case of learning whichever ones are not for you

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....you have written here, everything that has been swimming around in my thoughts!

I was just beginning to admit that I had noticed the connection - particularly because of drinking more during the christmas period social gatherings - and here I read precisely what I should have said out loud......so thankyou!....... determination for helping myself stay well is now back in gear - heres to dry 2018!

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God luck. Please let me know how you get on. Graham

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Graham - it sounds like you need to bite the bullet as far as alcohol is concerned. I too thought my social life would suffer but It hasn’t at all. Friends understand and even have suggested lovely concoctions without booze in them.

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Yeah I’m starting to realise that. It doesn’t particularly bother me as the past couple of weeks I’ve actually been out and not had a drink. I’m sure your right and I’m determined to try to get right so will do what ever it takes.

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#grahampark

Yes I am coming to the same conclusion. I haven't had any alcohol for most of this month, and episodes are reducing, though not yet stopped. Had ablation early November. Episodes roughly every 3 days, nearly always starting at night.

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As I said, I’ve not had one for two weeks and I’m liking that a lot. To be honest, most of mine start in the evenings and I have been woken up by them in the middle of the night.

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Be truthful with your Cardiologist about how much you drink and your concerns .Best not to underplay it he needs to know...It is your health at stake here.

There is life after Alcohol.

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Totally agree thanks

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Everyone with AF gives up alcohol eventually.

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True. I think it takes a while with a little cheating along the way-thinking we can still indulge occasionally. But eventually we learn we can't and feeling better wins out. This is not a bad way to learn. I believe all learning is a process anyway. Trying to be perfect when making changes and being too stern with ourselves is very stressful in its own way. After all, we didn't get through school in 6 months. And you have to live a little along the way. My take on life here is it's a kind of school to get through and when we're ready to we move on to a better place. But we do needa lot of 'playground' time. And time to fight in the sandbox.

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Everyone?

I'm hoping not. There isn't even a hint of a link between alcohol and AF for me. I've had weeks of abstinence and been afflicted, and been on holidays where I've drank every day and had no problems at the time or for weeks afterwards.

To be fair I'm only 41, and there's no knowing what my health will be like in, say, 20 years time. I'm already quite health conscious and don't drink regularly, but I have no intention of abstaining completely when it doesn't appear to be in the slightest bit necessary.

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Hello

I dont have a problem with alcohol or coffee - tiredness and stress are a definite trigger for my PAF. Do you think it might have been those factors perhaps with Christmas and all the festivities, late nights?

Hope you feel better soon

Julia

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I couldn't agree more about booze a trigger it's a pain as I love to go out and since being diagnosed last Sep I removed booze from my life and boy do I feel better for it - tomorrow I get my first appt at Freeman after scan tests I love fitness and almost back to myself - just find it really hard to go out like I use to - but the difference to my health is unreal without booze - Nervous about tomorrow as well.

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That’s great and good on you. Good luck for tomorrow too.

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I love the thought of taking flecaunide to carry on boozing!

However the suggestion that tiredness /stress kicks off the AFib is a good observation. I have stooped drinking at New year as I hope to have an ablation next week . I have been monitoring my blood pressure which although not exessivly high can go from high ish 145/95 one morning to 117/ 84 the day after. I suspect ed it may be the booze. Anyway now I have stopped guess what ? It still varies ! Last Saturday I went to a very boozy dinner party, 3:00 am finish. I was drinking zero alcohol lager so was a bit of a party pooper to say the least, but very sober. The day after blood pressure much higher than Saturday. Despite a long lie in. I have never had a drink and gone into A fib, I have not recognized any triggers at all but am now suspecting lack of sleep has a lot to do with it. And when you are very tired you are more easily stressed.

Sorry though I must advise I would sooner not do tee total dinner parties when everyone else is very merry!

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I agree totally. I’m 56 years old and am taking this as a wake up call so going to have to treat it seriously. Ive not had alcohol for over two weeks but it’s quite easy to do in January. I have some big music festivals coming up soon and that will be the test but I’m determined. The start of a new, more healthy life style I think. Ive also managed to shed nearly a stone in weight and am feeling a lot better too. Thanks for your comments. Good luck to you. Graham

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Alcohol being a liquid is incredibly heavy, as such putting quite a large quantity into your stomach is also taking up quite a lot of room + making the heart and other organs work harder. My thoughts are that we are possibly overlooking actual volume/full stomach, as being a cause for setting Afib off, as opposed to alcohol being the cause (in large/strong doses it will be), as an occasional I am not so sure . The other aspect of drinking alcohol is the extreme temperature drop,as it goes into ones system, that has set mine off. Then there have been occasions when I have had non/low alcohol lager set mine off! Looking into the non/low alcohol ingredients, you will find that it is full of chemicals/barley/whatever, plus it fills you up just like an alcoholic drink......It is also sometimes freezing cold! So. .......is it really a drink with alcohol or the temperature plus volume consumed?

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Interesting John6, thanks for the comments.

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John , I have had exactly the same with non alcoholic lager must be the chemicals ??

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Chemicals Or coldness? I am even looking at the bubbles (not as mad as it sounds)! The bubbles are a chemical gas......does that belong in your system? I have had many a headache from say lager or a bottled beer that are gassy, followed by the mother and father of a headache.......what other damage is this preservative causing?

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John

That is cruel - drinking zero alcohol lager and the STILL getting A-FIB!

This is all so complex!

As regard the additives:- two I have been drinking of late (trying to find some taste):-

FREE Damm (spanish) bought from Morrisons does not appear to have additives and is among the best tasting zeros I have found. The other is Franziskaner alkohol frei (tescos) which is a German Weiss Beer which I think is also additive free.

Of course this does not help if it is the cold that sets you off.

My strategy of last few weeks is have a different (zero) beer every other drink to try to sop getting bored with it!

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KMRobbo. If you want to talk about cruelty try this.........I ran pubs & social clubs for over 25 years lol. During that time I never abused (okay maybe once in a blue moon) alcohol, nearly always making sure that I stayed in control. Anyway.......I don't live in Syria/Afghanistan/Iraq etc - I'll take what I have got.

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I gave up all alcohol. Though I do miss my red wine and the occasional Guinness I'd rather have an easier afib life. And I don't even consider non alcoholic beverages. God knows what's in it and it doesn't do the job. Now I have one Guinness a year. On St Patrick's Day. I mean you gotta live! I'm American and live in the states. Guinness has a long reach.

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