AF Association

AFIB - 32Yr Old

Fairly new on the site and figured I would tell my story as I found help from reading others. In about the month leading up to me going to the doctor and ultimately being told I had AFIB I had felt ectopic beats on and off but almost daily. Being a stubborn young male I never went to the doctor for it and thought they would pass on their own. One Saturday while at home I felt like they were especially prevalent and happening back to back non stop. I ended up going to the local clinic and they did an ekg on me. I knew something was wrong when a look of confusion came over the nurses face and she went to get the doctor. He came in and asked me what was wrong, what drugs I had taken, etc... They showed me my ekg and it was all over the place and very abnormal looking. Throughout this whole ordeal I never felt any of the symptoms of AFIB or even of an irregular heartbeat, I felt just fine through the whole thing. The doctor and nurse suggested I take an ambulance immediately to the hospital as "ekg's like this are not normal in people much less someone my age". I was very hesitant to take an ambulance as I did not feel bad and the hospital was close but took their advice and went. Once I got to the hospital I was sort of a medical mystery. My ekg was still very rough looking and the pulse rate on the screen would jump from 120 to 200 then down to 0 for extended periods of time although i was still very much alive. It got to the point that the nurses stopped coming in to check on me when the rate would go to 0. Still no one knew what was wrong with me. I think they tried some different medication to get my heart rate to come down and normalize but nothing really seemed to work. They did all the normal blood test, urine tests and everything came back normal. This all happened at night so the next day someone came to take an ultrasound of my heart. After that the cardiologist came in and told me I was in AFIB. No one suspected AFIB from the beginning because it is so rare in someone my age. I think the chances are 1 in a couple thousand for a 30 something year old. After diagnosis they started me on an IV of a medicine to get my heart rate to normalize or else they would have to do a cardioversion the next morning. About 4-6 hours after starting that IV drip my pulse normalized. I am now on a daily aspirin as my stroke risk was a 0 on whatever 1-5 scale they use. I have since bought a Kardia mobile device and have not received an AFIB reading since the incident took place. I do get the occasional unclassified reading. I have still felt the occasional ectopic beats also.

As to what cause me to go into AFIB I really have no idea. I was a moderate drinker before hand and slowed that down but still drink 1-2 times a week with no adverse reactions. In fact while drinking I get more normal readings from my Kardia then when I am not. Caffeine does not seem to trigger it either. I have been taking some magnesium and potassium supplements since I had previously had a low Mag level about 4 years ago on a blood test.

I know there are plenty of personal experiences written out there but hopefully someone finds use of this one. I know while I was sitting in the hospital I did some searching on young people with AFIB and could not find many posts.

17 Replies
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Welcome to your world. Two things here.

One, AF is far from rare at your age and in fact very common in endurance athletes and fast jet pilots, so don't think you are a freak. Many young people suffer AF events as a result of binge drinking but hopefully may not have recurrence if they refrain from that activity.

Two , aspirin is a waste of time yet can still cause you harm in terms of intestinal bleeding. Here in UK it is not longer used for stroke prevention in AF for this reason. I know that the all powerfull drug lobby in USA has so far not buckled to reality in this respect.

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Thanks for the reply. I have seen the studies on aspirin not being effective. I am on a "baby" aspirin 81mg now and will hopefully wean off of that eventually. I don't have a follow up scheduled with my cardiologist for another year though so not sure when I should stop taking it unless I do it on my own.

My concern is not knowing if I go back into AFIB. As I did not have any symptoms the 1st time it will likely be like that again if/when it happens again. I do have Fleccanide as a PIP if it should happen.

I'm hoping it was just a one time occurrence and maybe stress related but only time will tell.

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Why take something which is not helping you which can still harm you? Nobody can make you take it.

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Bob's right. I was prescribed daily baby aspirin some years ago. After a few weeks the daily onslaught upset my stomach badly. Did you know that there is no antidote to aspirin?

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I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "there is no antidote to aspirin".

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its effects can not be reversed other than stop taking it and waiting for the body to catch up

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One of my customers died after an aspirin "went down the wrong hole" many years ago back in the 70s. It dissolves lung tissue apparently.

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😱😱😱 Effects take two weeks to wear off (so my dentist told me).

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Hi Clayr361

Thanks for putting together such a long and well constructed post. Given we are a group of 12, 000, stories like yours are always going to be helpful to a lot of people. And welcome to the forum. 🙂

I’m guessing you are in North America with your mention of an EKG, in the U.K. we call it an ECG.

Finding out about AF cofactors and triggers will be a good basis for further lifestyle changes. Getting a handle on anxiety is a big thing. And not being an endurance athlete helps. Also have a read up on Medtronic Linq which could be a useful diagnostic tool to establish your AF burden, given that your AF has sometimes been asymptomatic.

Consider an opinion from an electrophysiologist EP to get a alternative take on AF management, to that which many cardios have, the latter tending to be more conservative, less inclined to recommend early ablation, and more likely to prescribe some very occasionally dangerous and toxic drugs.

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That was my hope, for someone to find this helpful maybe even years from now. I was probably wrong in saying it is rare in my age but should have said it is rare for people my age to talk about it. I found limited posts from young people when I first got diagnosed.

I am in North America, should have pointed that out.

I really think stress and anxiety may be my cause. Not so much a trigger as more of a prolonged stress on me as a whole causing that episode.

I have already made some lifestyle changes, less alcohol and caffeine and plan to up the cardio but nothing near the point of an endurance athlete. I lift weights now but lack on the cardio side.

I will look into the Linq, have never heard of it before. I have met with an Electro Cardiologist both in the hospital and at a 1 month follow up. He said my EKG looked completely normal and that he is not all too worried about it. Told me what to do if it happens again. Luckily no long term drugs were prescribed to me besides the aspirin which I am not contemplating on quitting due to the above comments. Here in the U.S. it seems like a fairly easy process to get an ablation. Doctor said he would be willing to do it if I wanted it done. I just do not think I am at that point just yet.

Thanks for the comment.

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Hi Clayr, thanks so much for your post. It is really helpful hearing the experiences of someone of your age - and sometimes young adults newly diagnosed come on to specifically hear from people who started AF young.

I hope you keep well - do keep us posted :)

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You ask how you could know if you have gone into AF without symptoms. I'm wondering if a wrist style pulse monitor such as provided with an activity 'watch' like Fitbit would give you the clue to get out the Kardia? I haven't had any AF since I got my Fitbit for Christmas, at least not that I know of, so I can't say if it would serve.

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Actually studies have shown that baby aspirin is effective at cutting the risk of bowel cancer I think by 30% with a downside 8% increased risk of bleeding in the stomach. I discussed this with my GP several years ago when my brother developed bowel cancer. Of course I had to come off it when I went on apixaban

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Insist on an ablation. I believe it's the best first line defense. Drugs simply do not work over time.

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So the mystery is "What kicked it off". For example the 'holiday heart" syndrome is well documented as a result of total over indulgence . If you adopt what you may consider to be a fairly boring lifestyle , very little drinking, gentle aerobic exercise (none of this running around mountains stuff), no smoking, get your weight within your BMI, eat organic food rather than highly processed junk, ease off on the coffee and white sugar and white bread, you might find it never happens again and you will probably outlive all the obese characters who surround you

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Sorry that you started the afib journey. I'm 37 and was diagnosed last August. I was very fit, healthy, confident, passionate and positive before afib. Then after suffering a sudden onset panic attack for two months, I woke up one day at 2am in afib. I always think my afib was caused by constant anxiety, but no one agreed with it.

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I’m sorry you are going through this...anyway I can help ?

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