Log in
AF Association
16,829 members19,950 posts

Diagnosed AF

Hi I've been diagnosed with AF very recently.

I'm 44 & fit & healthy, I'm taking Bisoprolol 2.5 once a day.

Is this going to change my life, I'm really worried as I've not had it explained to me fully.

Is there things I shouldn't do like drinking alcohol/coffee ?

I run quite often is this safe to do now ?

I'm finding I'm checking my heart rate constantly which is around 47 to 50 bpm is this too low ?

I've got an appointment with my doctor tomorrow, but I feel more comfortable chatting with people who have AF as well.

As you'll know the answers & what I'm going through...

Thank you.

29 Replies
oldestnewest

life goes on BUT it is important to make sure that you do not over strain your heart so listen to your body. It you run then try not to push too hard and get too out of breath. Exercise is good. Over exercise is bad.

Alcohol upsets many people , so best to avoid and if you can go caffeine free all the better.

Go to AF Association website and read all the fact sheets and booklets as knowledge is power. AF won't kill you but ignorance may.

A HR of 50 is fine if you are very fit by the way.

We have all been where you are and it does get easier and we can answer many question here, just not anything about what drugs to take as we are not medically trained and should not comment on such matters.

4 likes
Reply

Hi I was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago with AF.Still waiting for appointment to see someone at local hospital .I have had 24 hour BP monitor which first found my high BP then I was sent to hospital by gp due to weekend of palpitations Had 24 hour ech and a ultra sound scan It's still all new to me and anxiety doesn't help

There are lots of friendly helpful people on here believe me and things don't always have to be serious It's a good tonic to laugh a little

6 likes
Reply

Hello Jubrad :-) welcome, here is a link to the AFA patients information section...

heartrhythmalliance.org/afa...

We all know how scary it can be when you are first diagnosed but you can learn to live with AF and get on with life.

My pulse is on the low side due to taking beta blockers but is is just a number and I feel fine, not dizzy or anything so for me it a price worth paying for a lower blood pressure and controlled AF

Dr Gupta's videos are great and may help you to understand what is happening to your body ..

there are more useful videos on AF by Dr Gupta down the side of this one on yutube..

8 likes
Reply

Hi Jubrad74,

"I run quite often is this safe to do now ?"

That is one for your medic. My GP when asked by myself what level of pulse rate should I aim for, did set a.........no more than xxx rate. Tbh the rate he set is difficult in any event as Bisoprolol keeps it down. I guess the point I am making is that it is no longer open ended. As already mentioned by Bob.......listen to your body.

"I'm finding I'm checking my heart rate constantly which is around 47 to 50 bpm is this too low ?"

Imo a lot will depend on what your heart rate was before medication, ie if it were say 90 to 95, then that is a very big change, on the other hand if it were 60 to 65, then not so big. My own personal belief due to mine also being in the range of 46 to 52, is that they should be aiming for the medically accepted minimum of 60 bpm. It is something that I will be raising when my cardiology appointment comes through.

3 likes
Reply

lots of good advice Jubrad. AF is an extremely variable condition which affects people in different ways and no two people seem to have identical experiences. When you check out the webpages as suggested, you will see that there are basically 3 types of AF:

Paroxysmal AF (comes and goes often without reason).

Persistent AF (there 24/7 but able of being stopped by medication or a procedure such as a cardioversion (shock treatment) or an ablation.

Finally permanent AF which is again 24/7 but cannot easily be stopped.

In the UK, there are over 1m people diagnosed with AF and there are around 12,500 members on this forum of which, a relatively small number are active, so take comfort from the fact that many lead relatively normal lives. Also, there are probably 250,000 more who have AF but do not know it, so try not to despair.

Treatment options vary depending on the type of AF you have and your overall health and the best route forward is to ask your GP to refer you to see a cardiologist, preferably and Electrophysiologist (EP) who is a cardiologist specialising in arrhythmias. NHS appointments may have long waiting times depending on locations so if necessary, you can always consider a private appointment but bear in mind there will be tests which can add significantly to the cost.

Hope that helps....we all started our AF journey with fear and trepidation but as knowledge and experience increases, most of us manage to get on with our lives. As BobD says, most people fear exposure to a premature death and whilst there are no guarantees in this world, we are told that no one has died from AF, but it is important to establish a treatment plan with a specialist.....hope this helps.....good luck tomorrow with your GP

8 likes
Reply

Before my ablation I was on 2.5 bisiprolol but could take up to 5mg when in AF for a long time and my heart rate when not in AF was between 45 and 55 bpm, now my rate is 65 to 75 bpm, I still take 1.25mg of bisiprolol as well as flecinide until my 3 month check, hopefully I can be weaned off some of the meds then.

2 likes
Reply

I'm only taking 1.25mg bisoprolol now, and my resting heart rate is around 50. It can go as low as 44 sometimes, I've noticed on my Fitbit. As someone said, it's how you feel that counts. When I took 2.5mg I found I couldn't comfortably climb the stairs to go to bed! I wouldn't count myself as particularly fit, despite my 20,000 steps and 92 'floors' on a country walk yesterday. BTW, when climbing the steep bits I reached 120 HR. No AF, despite the heat.

You will find the forum here is a fantastic resource. Read anything and everything, there are relevancies in everyone's experience and although everyone is different (some can have alcohol, some can't) you learn a general sense of what to expect and it all becomes much less scary.

4 likes
Reply

This is similar to

My experience except that I would drop below 50bpm on 2.5 so I’ve cut the tablets in half (! and now find my resting bpm is around 52. I echo that this is a great forum. Thank you! 😊

2 likes
Reply

Go to decaff coffee, a lot of people find alcohol is trigger and go for regular straightforward exercise without pushing it (no steroids etc). I assume you don't smoke . If you are overweight think back to when were at your fittest and try and get back there.

Get your chloresterol and sugar levels checked along with your blood pressure. (Tesco will do it while you wait for £10). You haven't mentioned having an ECG so ask your GP to refer you for one so your cardiologist can check for any underlying conditions.

So having said all that you may find it just goes away. You are young enough to make any necessary lifestyle changes which may well stop it all in its tracks.

2 likes
Reply

Hi- I got AF last December and like you it’s been a shocking realization. I was on 2.5mg bisop and felt awful- constantly exhausted and experiencing flutters like never before. I changed to 1.25mg and am back to ‘normal ‘. Alcohol is without doubt the trigger - in my case especially wine. I was obsessed with my HR for the past 6 months - got my Fitbit Charge 2 HR and my ecg heart monitor. I have recently stopped obsessing and checking and I have relaxed about it all. It’s a life changer for sure but it’s very manageable in my case. I’m drinking mostly alcohol free beers and sometimes a bottle of Heineken Light 3%. You will be fine once you get past the initial shock 👍🏻

3 likes
Reply

Do you recommend the fit bit charge 2, is it accurate with your heart rate ?

I’m using my husbands Apple Watch at the min, but it’s on loan it is very good but far too expensive to buy another one for myself. I’m looking for a cheaper but obviously accurate replacement. What’s your opinion of it as I’m a bit obsessed like you was with checking my HR ?

Thank you.

Reply

Yes - the Fitbit Charge 2 HR is perfect for monitoring your HR and a lot cheaper than the Apple Watch - please note that you will notice your heart rate will be below 60 while resting and it’s ok if it goes up to 100 while walking around the house or park - this is normal and it will go back to your resting rate very quickly (47-50 for you). Avoid any binge drinking- but you should be fine with few glasses of beer etc - you will learn your own tolerances and responses in time. The advice on this forum is priceless and mostly very accurate. You should be on an anticoagulant as suggested. You will find your way back to a calmness in a short time and knowledge is vital for peace of mind. It’s difficult at first but it will improve. Best wishes

1 like
Reply

Just for clarity- a resting rate of 47-50 is ‘normal ‘ for someone on 2.5 mg Bisop

Reply

Thank you for your advice, it's given me peace of mind.

Reply

I assume you have also been given an anticoagulant? That is very important. Prof Richard Schilling (London AF Centre) has research which clearly shows less than 10 units of alcohol a week has no impact on AF and coffee none at all. You can watch his teaching videos on the AF Centre website . I have had diagnosis of almost two years and gradually getting less anxious about it. Best wishes .

1 like
Reply

No just the bisoperlol.

Reply

Hi Jubrad, I am 67 and my hobby is cycling. My AF returned in February and I too take 2.5mg Bisoprolol and Warfarin and my resting HR is around 50. I have had several episodes recently but am still trying to find the trigger for it. Went up to 183 last week and lasted over 5 hours over 140 when I over exerted myself cycling up a hill, but also 150 last night just sitting watching TV only for 5 minutes though. The couple of times I have been in fast HR at hospital all they have done is give me another dose of Bisoprolol. Last week they sent me home still in AF but HR down to 85. It's all quite scary but the more you read on here the more re-assuring it is. I am on the waiting list for another ablation. Hope you get the answers from your doctor today and he refers you to a good EP.

2 likes
Reply

Hi Jubrad

Good idea to ask around about your condition , I’ve was diagnosed in 2013, after two GPs said there was nothing wrong me. Doctors arnt the best at explaining and they’re busy, so you get the best of what time they have for you. Although SERIOUSLY not all doctors are equal and a good Cardiologist may be important .

As to will it change your life? Yes but you’ll get used to it , and you’ll become more in- tune with your heart and body than yiurvwere before, and that’s a good thing .

Are you on any actual blood thinners ?? Bisoprolol is a common med for AF, but if you do actually have a heart beat jumping around everywhere blood thinners are usually necessary to help prevent blood clots. I’m on Xarelto , but stArted on walfarin .

Assume they should also be doing an Ultra Sound of the heart to check it’s size, and also to check your Ejection Fraction ( what the pumping capacity is , should be 50-75% is normal). Biggest and a very IMPORTANT bit of advice is don’t panic IF they find another complication, panicking and stress -it’s not good for your heart and there’s a lot of great stuff out there to get you back to mostly normal living.

As far as coffee goes, 1/2 strength usually won’t affect things but buy your self a BP machine and do periodic checks . Your BPM looks pretty good I guess , what’s you BP ? Coffee can make it increase but so long As within normal levels that’s ok. Excercise is good, but again maybe review how it affecting your heart while your running , and get advice from your DR.

If you have AF they can try Cardioversion , which is where they shock your heart , I’ve had it done twice , in 2013 after I was diagnosed , and was back in sinus rythm for two years, then in 2015 when I sudddnlt went back into AF. Started a new medication in 2017 called Tambocor which so far has kept me in sinus rythym, you of course may not need the same though . Hope this helps

1 like
Reply

Do you take a beta blocker with the tambacore?

Reply

Yes take bisoproool. As well

As Ramopril.

Reply

I'm looking to take flecanide too,once I'm cardioverted,thanks

Reply

No I’m not on blood thinners just the bisoprolol, Im hoping these doctors know what they’re doing. As I’ve been told my next cardiology appointment isn’t for 4/6 weeks. Though I’m wearing an Apple Watch & checking my heart rate every hour or so to check it’s ok it’s been 101 today then as low as 45 I think I’m still in AF on this medication.

Thanks for your reply,

All the replies have helped.

Reply

Hi, was talking to my wife ( who’s a Clinicle nurse consultant ) , she followed very closely what happened with me which things got quiet bad , if my AF was picked up at the right time ( used to kick in and out ) I wouldn’t have gotten as bad . When I was finally admitted to hospital after a chest X-ray “I insisted on getting “, came back , I freaked out - very scared as “somethings wrong “I’m told , started stressing , anxiety now at high levels and my heart rate is rocketing , unfortunately hospitals too busy for anyone to just sit and talk to me to allay my fears. My BPM reaches 180 and this is now damaging my heart - good tip : don’t panic, my heart was stretching out of shape and cos I’m now IN “AF”and my hearts jumping everywhere like a rock band going off, I’m forming a blood clot in my left ventricular (which may have already began forming, .which got 3cm. That was picked up the next day after a Ultra Sound scan of the heart, where they also measured my Ejection Fraction which was 29% ( normal range is 50-75%, I’m now in clinical “heart failure”)

Long story short- because my case got quiet extreme and I had a blood clot in my left ventricular , blood thinners were a necessity to dissolve the clot and keep things safe . Good news is my heart got back to normal size and now with some great meds things are back to normal pretty much , my Ejection Fraction is now 60%.

My advice to you is to keep an eye on things , if your dr says things you’r not convinced of - question them about it , or get another opinion .

I would be asking for a Ultra Sound scan of your heart to see it’s in size and check your Ejection Fraction rate - if nothing else to give you “peace of mind”

In my case they sent a camera through my vein in my right arm into my arteries in my heart to check if they were blocked , and they were fine, they asked me 2 times if I took drugs such as cocaine , which I don’t , and in the end there was no reason for this to happen to me . Only thing I’d been through a few months before all this happens was I resigned my position at the company due to extreme stress , basically I was been told to break the law.

Again my case was extreme , yours doesn’t sound the same , but I’d still be asking for the above if nothing else , so you know you’ve covered your own bases . Doctors ARNT gods , although I’ve had a few that thought they were , and they can miss important things, so again ask for a second opinion , get extra tests done to cover your bases .

Also I mentioned, after being Cardioverted back into Sinus Rythm the second time in 2017 I’ve been on an AF Ned called Tambocor which does seem to holding it in check .

1 like
Reply

Would an Echo scan of shown the Ejection Fraction rate ? I had one before I left the hospital & they said it was all ok.

They talked about an angeogram but didn't think it was necessary after my Echo results came back.

Though my results were given off a staff nurse & not a doctor/ consultant as he was too busy to come back to see me.

I've not got my cardiology f/up app till the end of August. But I'm seeing my GP again in 2 weeks, I will query if he knows what my Ejection Fraction rate was. As he should hopefully have all this information now everything is computerised. If not I will ask to be referred for a U/S...

I also had a chest x-ray whilst in hospital, but was told all was ok.

I didn't know what questions to ask in hospital as it was so scarey & I was alone every time the doctor came round.

But I've got questions for my next visit, I'm just hoping these Bisoprolol I'm taking are adequate for my needs.

I'm trying to keep calm but it's hard, if I get too stressed I'll book an earlier app to see my doctor.

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

Reply

Yes an ultrasound scan of the heart would show your Ejection Fraction rate . If they said it’s all good then that’s great , means your AF hadn’t caused any damage yet as it did in my case. Maybe at your next visits enquire what your EF was , again between 50-75% is good. As for angeogram they’d do that to see if your arteries are blocked or damaged as they did me with , but to their surprise with me my arteries were good, they usually try to find a reason why the AF occurred. So maybe based on your scan they figured no need.

Unfortunately being this is new to you it’s quite normal to be scared as you just don’t understand what’s Going on, and let’s face it this is nothing that you’re familiar with and you don’t have control, and that’s always a bit scary. Knowing what I know now from multiple doctors visits, to cardiac specialists, Which I dumped my first one I was referred to from the hospital because he was to textbook, and while my new cardiologist is definitely thinking outside the box a bit more and giving me more options he still not perfect in my books, But if I knew now what I knew then obviously things will be a lot better for me mentally.From what I’ve read, from A lay point of you, remembering I’m not a doctor, sounds like your problem was caught quite early which is great. Obviously less medication you’re on the better and your GP is obviously your first go to person. I would suggest if you don’t feel he’s up to the job research other GPs who have an interest in the heart of cardiology.

If something serious happens or even if you think it might be go to the ER, I went a lot of times and I don’t mind it’s completely understandable even if it’s really nothing.

. My case was quite extreme, most likely bought on by excessive stress and my heart rhythms which Wernt perfect being overlooked by two GPs. One doctor later on even mentioned Takotsubocardiomyapathy

Ask about cardioversion, which is where they shock your heart back into sinus rhythm and, and that may put you back to normal which maybe all you need, your AF maybe bought on by a racing heart rate possibly running or anything else That can make it speed up too much or maybe even a virus could have caused it which wernt aware of .

Also a good idea to ask our blood thinners necessary big your heart is not beating normally .

1 like
Reply

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart arrhythmia among athletes and it is thought it has to do with stretching the atrium. Tests ar being done on certain tarantula venom that halts this stretching (I have 28 tarantulas wish I knew which species, I could stick my hand in there once a day...lol). That said, perhaps take the running a notch or two down. You can remain very healthy without marathons. In fact, using those "poles" and walking is actually better for you. Especially as you age. No alcohol. Decaf coffee/tea. Having a slow heart rate made me go into irregular beats but I am older than you..doc said nothing below 60 bpm. You can be very healthy at those rates, even up to and including 72 bpm, especially as you age. We have this huge exercise kick going on; people are overdoing it. My Dad lifted weights from age 18 on, walked and walked, enjoyed his walks and he lived into his 96th year in PERFECT health except for an un-attended curable ear cancer on the outside...a whole other story about the healthcare system....but every organ in his body was working good and he had really good muscle strength and lifted weights until a few months before his death. he had PACs but nothing else. Interestingly, a particular statin helps to prevent recurrence of Afibs, plus it stems off a lot of CVD because it relaxes the arteries. begins with an "a". I want a prescription...as it also creates less bleeding risks while on blood thinners...but only the "a" one! lol. ACE and ARBs also help stave off Afibs. You can find all this on pubmed. and other journals.

Reply

atorvastatin.

1 like
Reply

No one exsplained to me either the complications of AF and how to deal with it . One thing you will find is it affects us all so differently but it helps to share exspieriences . I avoid alcohol now and caffeine as they do set off AF shame as I love my coffee and prossecco..... I walk all the time but no longer run ..... acceptance is key and adjusting to a slower pace of life .... my advice would be don’t struggle with AF attacks get to A and E if they are longer than a day ... just keep positive and talk about it .....

1 like
Reply

Thank you

Reply

You may also like...