AF Association
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That goddam 'sofab' ......... AF, its come back !

Hi guys and gals,

Those that have followed me and my postings about my use of diet as a tool to control AF maybe interested in my update. At around 3.30am yesterday I was asleep in bed on my left side and suddenly I felt my heart trying to break out of Alcatraz. The thumping and banging were out of belief for mere mortals like me.

I figured what had happened and got up and went straight onto my portable ECG device (a Heal Force PC-80B). Well to say that it was at least a set of totally bloody chaotic readings would be the understatement of the year, maybe the decade. Unbelievable ! HR maxed out at 136 bpm. initially, not quite believing what I was seeing on the ECG machine I hooked up to my BP monitor (a Microlife WatchBPhome device which will show both on the screen and in hard copy that I've had an AF event) I got only one BP reading (175/97 with a HR of 87) and the rest was totally gobbledygook error messages. This reading as I knew it would showed I was in AF and confirmed the chaotic activity shown on the ECG device.

Within 2 hours the chaotic electrical activity on the ECG had subsided but the HR was still up around 130 bpm. I had been summoned to work for a corporate pre media release thingy and decided to go and stay at work during the day. As the day progressed my HR dropped, but did so very slowly but within 20 hours of onset my ECG readings were normal, my HR was at its usual mid 60's bpm and my BP was normal. (a beautiful set of readings :-) and back in NSR). During the day at work I regularly practiced deep breathing, using the diaphgram breathing technique.

So then came the soul searching. After getting home from work I sat down and gave it some thought. So, here we go ........... over the last few months I've noticed an increase of random very short run palpitations, an increase in burping particularly if I had not had food, a small increase in BP, AND my dear old friend from the past ...... BLOATING ! In the last week bloating has occurred more frequently and without reason ( but obviously I've eaten something though) then came the sleeping in bed on my left side, and in the last few days a discomfort/mild pain (like the 'stitch') on my right side lower ribcage. I have to say that I've been suffering extensive coughing fits for some 8 weeks now, the remnants of a particularly tiresome cold I picked up. Then BANG AF returns. Hopefully it'll be a one off event, and its disappointing that its interrupted an almost 3 year run without AF.

So what am I gonna do ........ absolutely damn all. Just monitor the situation on and off over the next week, after all I've got the technology at home .... use it! During the day at work I regularly practiced deep breathing, using the diaphgram breathing technique. My body will tell me when its time to call the paramedics :-) I will also have to revisit diet and now I'm starting to be a bit suspicious of certain red meats which maybe rich. Train myself to try and sleep in a different position to avoid aggravating the vagal nerve through changes in posture.

At least this time, unlike when I was first diagnosed with AF, I am well protected by warfarin. I gotta say this though, I can't remember that I've ever boasted the diet technique of dealing with AF is a cure. Never said that, in fact on many an occasion I've said or alluded to the fact that AF is the most untrustworthy thing I know and I always felt that at some point it would turn and bite me on the ass. It just did, and in fact this time the experience was nothing like when I fell prey to AF first up, in Jan 2010. It truly is all things to all people.

OK guys and gals, that's the update.

May the force be with you all.

John

29 Replies
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Hi & thanks for the update.

Bloating obviously indicates gut imbalance - know it well - and have noticed a direct synchronization between my Arrythmia & bloating with other gut problems so my suggestion would be to see a good nutritionist - get a full GI panel analysis and see if that shows up something. In my case it showed up several things - although I had an excellent reading and diversity of good bacteria and also had a high concentration of bad. No amount of diet alteration would help that but a taking a supplement did.

The other thing was an enzyme my pancreas was producing which blocked the absorption of short chain fatty acids - again short course of supplement sorted that.

When my gut starts playing up and I know I have inflammation in my body which happens every time I have a virus - you can get a blood test - I was advised to take Astragulus which is an adaptation and post viral tonic.

Everything else was sorted with dietary adjustments.

I still have bouts of AF and I have to be extremely careful what I eat and when I eat it but has improved.

And it could also just be progression - so hard to know - but as we age I think it does.

Commiserations from a fellow sufferer.

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Hi there CDreamer,

Many thanks for your welcome comments - just so much of interest there for me to chew over (no pun intended ! Have to admit this event blew my mind - my heart was thumping and bumping with such ferocity, so hard and vicious ........ worse than when I was first diagnosed years ago. Scary.

Anyway, the immediate changes were change sleeping posture and take some cough suppressant. Back in NSR for 2 days now. BP normal and HR normal. A visit to a Nutritionist is obviously next as you correctly say

What you say about inflammation in your body - well thinking about it all this coughing and the increase in burping followed a particularly difficult 'cold' I had at the beginning of winter (our UK winter), which developed into this damn cough. Several of my work colleagues have the same thing I might add. I have had my annual flu jab and also my one off pneumonia jab.

One question that comes to mind - are you on warfarin, and if so how do your supplements impact on your INR readings.

Unfortunately the original Nutritionist I consulted has ceased practice to raise a family, in any event she was in Surrey and nowadays I'm in the far end of Cornwall so I'll get onto BANT and see what I can find down here.

Many thanks again.

John

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Aw John I’m sorry :( Gutting when it returns. (Even if your impressive array of technology and awareness of your own triggers stands you in good stead!)

I really hope this is a total one-off and you can get back to your AF-free life again. Xx

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Hi Jane,

Thanks for your message. I'm fine again now and have been for 2 days. Well, the technology is useful and more or less confirms what my body is telling me. Thing is if I go to my GP and just complain that I've been feeling ill and my heart has been thumping .... they say, yeah, yeah, yeah.

If I go and complain and can produce hardcopies of my ECG. BP etc, then there is an immediate different response, a more positive response !

I like to think this has been a one off, for whatever reason - diet out of kilter, sleeping posture or coughing or a blend of the lot ..... who knows. We'll see :-)

Thanks again.

John

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Hi carneuny :-) sorry to hear you are having problems again, I know that sinking feeling when you realise 'it' is back just when you thought it just might have gone for good.

Incidentally I had a bad episode of AF last year following a bout of coughing during a chest infection .

Pleased to hear you are ok today.

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Thanks for that doodle68,

Must say, now I'm OK again, I am left wondering - what was worse - the heart so viciously thumping and banging or the damaged pride in having gone nearly 3 years without AF then getting in while sleeping on my left side.

John

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That’s a disappointment for you, John but I admire the way you dealt with the b-sofa. I wonder if the viral infection could be the culprit and it is a one-off - sincerely hope so.

Take care of the lingering cold symptoms and best wishes.

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Hi Finvola,

Thanks for your greetings. I am now taking 15ml of Benylin (Chesty coughs and non drowsy). I take it in one hit at or around breakfast - not quite as prescribed on the packet - but it does stop the cough and ease the congestion. and I only take the one hit per 24 hours.

Been back to normal now for 2 days, so I guess we'll see how it goes.

John

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Suggest two pillows on the left side to stop you rolling over when asleep. My AF is vagally mediated and I haven't slept on the left since, not the only precaution, but one to try.

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Hi secondtry,

Thanks for that - I'm going down that track right now and it seems to be successful. Very difficult to change ones sleeping posture though :-)

John

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Oh John! Bother, bother, bother - or words to that effect! I know my AF will kick off if I dare to so much as attempt, just for a few minutes, to lie on my left side. So lets hope that was the cause of yours. It certainly sounds as though you did the right thing by almost ignoring it and I've discovered that works too. I sincerely hope this is just a minor blip. Keep us posted please.

Jean

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Hi Jean, thanks for that. A day and half now and still in NSR. HR fine and steady, ECG also good, almost text book (for an old git). Yes, a totally new experience in this world of AF and am pretty certain this left side sleeping was the problem. Trouble is, I've had that sleeping posture for a long time and no previous issues ...so what's happening. I have lots of pillows now in place to stop me rolling onto my left side.

Regards,

John

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I know I keep playing a broken record but what could have happened is you affected your back with all the coughing. Get a chiropractor to check your spine to see if there could be an issue there. If there is and you only have AF infrequently now, maybe a slight adjustment is all you need. I am 100% certain the neck and back can be a big factor. You have all the instruments to keep track of what your heart is doing so it will be easy for you to notice if adjustments are of any benefit.

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Hi EngMac,

Yeah, actually I have read of this connection and interestingly I have had lower back and sacrilliac joint issues for many years. These remedied themselves following knee replacement surgery when my brilliant surgeon also realigned my leg geometry. Since then those problems have disappeared.

What I also have, and have it manipulated once in a while is a problem at the top of my back, the lumpy bit right at the top. So given the way the vagal nerve runs through the body this is not beyond the realms of possibility. I tend to go to an Osteopath in preference to a Chiropractor as I find their technique is more successful for me. However, I have to say I go to a Chiropractor if I want spinal adjustment (tweaking) and the Osteo for manipulation. In the two months after knee replacement I went to the Chirpractor for tweaking. I went to a sports injury massage therapist for massage of the incision line to prevent scar tissue. Job done.

At the end of the day I really believe a dysfunctional vagal nerve is my problem. This then manifests itself in many different ways, digestion (bloating), coughing, upper back, palpitations etc. I mean its name by implication is 'wandering' nerve because that's what it does and touches so many parts of the body and interconnects so many parts - none the least is the heart and the digestive system.

Thanks for your comments.

John

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If you are getting bloating it might be worth checking for lactose intolerance which can creep on with age. Milk products get used as fillers in all sorts of food , even gluten free stuff. Add in large companies changing product specifications without warning and previously safe food can become suspect. Fight the good fight. Ian

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Many thanks Ian. will keep that at the back of my mind and a point for discussion with my Nutritionist when I can locate one nearby.

John

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John,

Some years ago I was awaiting a 48 hr holter to look at the bigenimy I’d been having for 4-5 weeks, all day and night.

I had had a rotten cold during that time which culminated in a perpetual cough. 2 days of a terrible constant cough and one day before the holter was due all the bigenimy stopped!

The coughing did it. I suppose it can work both ways.

For me 800mg of magnesium a day stopped bloating and the feeling of food not moving down.

Pat

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Hi Pat,

Thanks for your comments I'm going to explore the magnesium but in all honesty I think I now have to revisit the Nutritionist professional again ..... I mean its nearly 3 years since my last AF event and probably 6 years at least since my original consultation with a Nutrionist which put me on this 'diet' pathway.

Did your bigenimy ever return after your coughing session ?

Of course as others have said, lying on my left side has also contributed. And all of this comes back to the vagal nerve. What a strange beastie this AF thingy is .... I said the other day when I put my post on here that AF was all things to all people. I'm thinking now it simply is 'All things' !

I had read about sleeping on the left side and also coughing - but this is the first time the two have come together and have had an impact. So it seems that this vagal nerve concept can in itself take on any form it wishes in other to bring about a state of AF. A 'Shapeshifter'.

Anyway, I've bought a cough suppressant now, the coughing has backed right off and I am trying not to sleep on my left side. So far so good, day 2 now and still in NSR, BP normal and HR back to normal.

John

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No John, the bigenimy didn’t return in such a prolonged way, but, I’ve had all kinds of temporary arrhythmic events.....

Ectopics going on for days or weeks in varying degrees and tachycardia being my regular night visitor. Only one proper AF episode though. As the AF one was so violent, in a chest jumping, arms shaking very light headed, impending doom kind of way, I can be sure it’s been the only one.

My saviour has been the magnesium and other supplements. It has to be those as I’ve not been troubled with any of the above for several years ( touching wood and crossing my fingers here). All I experience now are very few atrial ectopics but nothing on a daily basis.

I’m aware it could all change tomorrow and if it does I will still put my quiet years down to the supplements.

John.. watch that cough suppressant. I know you feel you need it but I give all cough, sinus, flu and cold remedies a wide birth these days. I think they’re all rhythm aggravators.

I do remember being recommended Phlocodine for a persistent cough once and it having a miracle effect, stopping the cough immediately.

I wish you well.

Pat

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Sorry to hear that your afib returned. It's already great that you haven't had an episode for three years. Hope you can go another many years without an episode. AF is so f***king draining. I'm struggling everyday.

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Hi there li17,

Well I'm now over 2 days and have stayed in NSR, ECG's showing great, as is BP and HR. So, it seems to be a 'one off' event ... hopefully. Doesn't alter the fact that I need to review some features of my own personal healthcare actions. OK, so I am changing my sleeping habits to avoid sleeping on my left side. Cough suppressant - yeah I am now taking 15 ml first thing in the morning and that does me for the day - so all my waking hours have the cough virtually eliminated. Back to the Nutritionist re diet.

This event really hit me I must say, the heart thumping with a force and power like I never had in the beginning. Bloody awesome I must say.

Thanks for your message - may the force be with you.

John

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Were you on any daily medicine in the last three years?

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Yes, 5.5 mg warfarin daily

5 mg Bisoprolol daily

10 mg Ramipril daily

2.5 mg Felodopine daily

40mg Simvastatin daily

The last 3 I was on at least 3 years before AF hit in Jan 2010.

I am on the lot for life.

John

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Oh, I thought you managed to be afib free for three years without med, that would be awesome.

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No, 'fraid not. AF free due to diet. The meds do nothing - except - keep me safe :-)

Statins = cholesterol

Ramipril and Felodopine = blood pressure

Warfarin = stroke prevention

Bisoprolol = heart rate

Hope that makes sense.

John

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May the Sinus be with you, and stay with you, Carneuny!

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Thanks very much :-)

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Just a point regarding your cough suppressant, I know that most proprietary brands contain Ephidri ne and are well known as a cause of AFib.

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Tudee,

Thanks for that. The brand I have doesn't have that listed on the packet. Mind you I've been with my chemist/pharmacy forabout 5 years and when I ask them for something out of the ordinary (which this is for me) I always tell them I'm on Warfarin but I often forget to tell them I'm with AF.

Mind you until last Thursday it was almost 3 years since my last AF event - so I often forget i have an AF diagnosis.

Not any more - the beastie made an unexpected come back.

John

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