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AF Association
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Question about blood sugar and AF

Hi Is there a connection? If I have a finger prick test it’s always a bit high I’ve been tested and not diabetic or pre diabetic. However I have to be very careful not to get low blood sugar or I feel dreadful. I’m in permanent AF and haven’t been able to get any answers on this. Thanks

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I have PAF controlled by Flecainide and notice a definite link between an excess intake of sugar and heart arrhythmia.

Shortly after diagnosis I noticed that after I had eaten something high in sugar I had an episode of AF shortly afterwards. Since being on Flecainide I cannot have a sugar rush without suffering ectopics and tachycardia within a few hours.

As far as I know, my blood sugar is normally stable but I treat sugar with great care and try to avoid overdosing on it.

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Thanks Finvola that’s very interesting I do and try to avoid added sugar. Also white carbs. It’s hard to know the best route to take though.


Hi dragonflyjan,

I can't give you a definite answer, rather just run part of my story past you.

Several years ago I had an eyesight test and the optician refused to prescribe new lenses because looking at my eye he felt my blood sugar was excessively high. He wrote to my GP who did a Hb1ac blood test and confirmed the opticians diagnosis was correct - I was borderline pre diabetic.

In the mean time I went into meltdown ( as diabetes killed my father) and cut out all added sugar from my diet. I also bought a blood sugar testing device and once or twice a year (at random) I continue to monitor my blood sugar. So far all is well.

The rub is ..... I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AF in Jan 2010, several years before seeing the optician and although medicated I found a link between food I'd eaten and the onset of an AF event. I consulted a nutritionist and went on a diet, gluten free, wheat free, oats free and a whole load of other stuff free. So I added sugar to the melting pot of exclusions from my diet and all is well so far.

Until 15 February 2018, I have been AF free for nearly 3 years. On 15 Feb I had a 4 hour episode of AF that hit me during the night ..... nothing to do with food or sugar but posture. I'd been lying/sleeping on my left side.

By keeping to this sugar free diet, as well as a food diet I keep my blood sugar well down and if nothing else I can reassure myself I'm doing all I can to whip this AF into shape. Because I was already dieting I can't say what cutting out added sugar has done but my personal view is it can only help.


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Thanks for this information John it’s a complex situation. I may consider a nutritionalist in the meantime eat healthily, I can’t tell when I go into AF but it seems to be most of the time. If I know I haven’t eaten I get very breathless


Hmm. While we all look for triggers for our AF, I've tried hard to keep an open mind on this. Both of my small sample of two known incidents of AF, involved me being situated in falling temperatures in the evening, and on days when I had been inadequately nourished, and was consequently craving carbohydrates which were not available to me. I did wonder if LOW blood sugar was a contributory factor in setting off the AF.


For many years before I was diagnosed with AF I suffered self induced hypoglycaemia . Used to stuff my face with sweets on the way home from work so by the time I got home I was shaking from the flip/ flop high /low blood sugar situation and usually had to eat a dry biscuit and drink half a glass of milk to calm things down.

Did it contribute to AF? Probably not but it did make my heart race a lot and as I have said many times in the past if you have a predisposition to AF then this sort of thing could trigger it. . If you are lucky enough NOT to have a predisposition to AF then there is nothing to trigger.


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