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Hereditary aspect of arrhythmias

Does anyone have more than one person in their family with arrhythmia problems. Years ago a Cardio Ward sister said to me if I have daughters that they could potentially inherit this condition. My daughters were very young at the time. My youngest is now 21 and has already had runs of SVT. She has been checked over and her heart is healthy but she does have days were she really struggles with racing heart. Thankfully due to my history she was referred immediately and taken seriously. She is to contact the cardiologist in the future if she feels her QOL is impacted or is struggling to cope.

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HI KJ :-) my brother who is older than me (82) has P-AF. I am pretty sure my Father had it too, he had some kind of arrhythma, he used to get breathless and have what he called 'his palpitations' but was never diagnosed. I don't think people knew much about it in those days . Dad had type 1 diabetes a risk factor for arrhythmia for 65 years and live to be 89.

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Thank you for your interesting reply. Bodies are amazing aren’t they! 65 years with diabetes and living to the ripe old age of 89! There is hope for us all 😊

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...Dad was one of the first people to take the new 'miracle drug' insulin in 1928.

His treatment began with a week of living on cabbage water 'to clean his system' he was skin and bone and starving . He was put on a special diet and stuck to all his life which along with being very slim may go some way to explaining his longevity.

It may also explain how he survived arrhythmia without treatment.

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No doubt the old school diabetes diet of very low carbs that actually worked rather than the rubbish touted by diabetes advisors today that says you can eat grains as long as they are whole and makes sure you end up on diabetes drugs sooner rather than later ( more profit for guess who).

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Does it rhyme with who.

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I believe so. Cannot scientifically prove it, anecdotal evidence really. My paternal grandfather died following a series of strokes way back in 1964. No details known. I have AF, my second cousin has AF ( his grandfather and mine were brothers). My daughter, at the age of early 30's had AF on each occasion she was pregnant. When she stopped breeding the AF stopped.

As I say, just anecdotal really.

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Thank you for replying, that’s really interesting. I had an Aunty that showed a keen interest in my heart problems and asked loads of questions. She said she had really fast heart rate sometimes and had always been too scared to tell anyone. I didn’t take much notice, would love to ask her about it now but she is sadly no longer with us. Apart from that it just seems to be me and now possibly my daughter.

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There was research published last year into genetic links for AF in certain people and there is some evidence from posters here that family members are affected by it.

My mother had ‘palpitations’ and ‘angina’ in the 1960’s and a TIA later that decade. I’m fairly positive she had AF from my memory of conversations with her. No-one else that I know of over three generations of close family has so far been afflicted with it, thank goodness.

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Thank you so much that’s really interesting.

Your poor mum, i would imagine that years ago it was something people just had to put up with.

I feel sad that my daughter might have inherited it but very grateful that she will never be questioned and misdiagnosed in the way I have. Her route to treatment should she ever need or want it will be swift, thank god!

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Also she is young enough to see the breakthrough in fully understanding what makes heart arrhythmias tick and the subsequent improved and real treatments which may follow.

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Yes, I agree. A combination of youth, knowledge and first hand experience. Also I’m a fierce advocate for her as you can probably imagine with my history! 😂

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Hi Kellyjelly. I have AF & my son has SVT. We were both diagnosed last year. I pray he doesn't go on to develop AF as you have done yourself. He's 36.

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Thank you for your reply, it’s so interesting to hear the connections in families.

That must have been a big year for you both. Have you ever had SVT yourself? In my case I developed SVT at 17 and then it morphed into AF about 12 years ago when I was almost 35, I will be 47 this year and have just added Atrial flutter to the mix.

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Yes last year was horrendous. I have never had SVT myself but very unusual heart rhythms since my late 30's around the time I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I am now 64. Like yourself I was always told there was nothing wrong & that it was just anxiety. Sometimes they actually convince you that it IS all in your head! I do believe it leaves mental scars. I am still struggling with having to live with AF. I hope in time I can be like the others in the forum that have had the condition a lot longer & cope better but it still has the power to reduce me to a quivering wreck. My son on the other hand copes with SVT brilliantly. Maybe that's just the resilience of the young. I do not know of any other relative at all in my family with a heart arrythmia. My dad is 95 & no AF. Such is life 🤔

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I feel so sad that you have had the same struggles and have been left with the scars that are inevitably left after years of not being listened to. Hopefully now you both have a firm diagnosis you can make a treatment plan with your doctor and start to gain control of what you know is a real medical condition. I totally agree that you can be convinced it is actually a form of panic disorder. But even in my darkest times I new inside that it was real.

The part of the ablation I’m dreading the most is the arrhythmia being provoked! I too am reduced to an absolute mess when it happens and I tend to get up immediately from whatever I’m doing and pace around for a few seconds , the thought of having to lay completely still and override that is scary!

I’m starting to think that strength comes from how you cope when it’s not happening rather than when it is. You will get there day by day, my daughter doesn’t like her racing heart episodes but doesn’t dwell on it in any way. Maybe because she is young but maybe also because she is quite familiar with talk of heart rate etc and has never had anyone tell her it’s psychosomatic.

I wish you all the best and hope this tear is easier than the last. 😊

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Thank you so much for listening. You are a lovely lady. Onwards & upwards for us both 🤗

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Onwards and upwards sounds good x

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Hi TamiaMotown

You say you have hypothyroidism. Are you correctly treated?

Here is an interesting article about hypothyroidism and the heart. If people are not treated properly for their thyroid problems it can cause heart problems. You may already be aware of this. Problem is that docs often leave patients undertreated or not even on the eight medication, such as T3, levo or NDT. T3 and T4 needed for healthy heart. I am not medical but have done loads of research on this and have palpitations which seem to have been less now Im being treated with T3 and NDT.

google.com/url?sa=t&source=...

JaneCx

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I only know that my Thyroid function is checked regularly & I am told it is either ok or a change in dosage of Levothyroxine is required which they tell me has corrected it on a further check. Thank you for replying but the article is a bit technical

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Hi Tamlatotown

I always check my results on line. Its best to get a printout as they may tell you they are ok but people on here may tell you differently if you post your results on here. The docs dont want to treat until TSH is over 10 and also often keep people on low doses of levo when they need to be higher. Also they rarely check the T3 or antibodies TPO, Tgab, Vitamin D or Vitamin B12. If you are registered on line you would be able to see the results on line and people on here with more knowledge will be able to tell you if things are ok or not. Some people do private blood tests so they can get a more complete picture of what is going on.

JaneCx

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Thank you Jane

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Two brothers and a sister! 😞

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Thank you for replying, that’s such a shame. The only positive I can think of is that at least you have your own little ready made support group of people that completely understand how you all feel.

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My Dad had AF .... for 15 years before he died last year from a bleed in his brain.

I was diagnosed in September last year, worst year of my life.

My Cardiologist says my AF is genetic and won’t be swayed on it!

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I’m so sorry you lost your dad last year, that with the AF diagnosis I can’t imagine what you have had to cope with. I lost my dad 18 months ago and still only feel at the beginning of the grieving process. Take good care x

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Thank you Kelly, you too ❤️

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There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that arrhythmias can be genetic. Just as eyes can form similarly in families giving way to a family of spectacle wearers so hearts can be a shape which allows or even encourages rogue impulses to form .

One must first understand what has caused a particular condition and with AF for example whilst this can be genetic it can also be acquired. Athletes and fighter pilots all have a disproportionate number of AF sufferers in the ranks due to what their hearts have to put up with. BInge drinking can also cause AF as can over use of NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen as we know.

I do think that increased awareness of the conditions has meant that quite a few people are being diagnosed who maybe would not have been twenty years ago and another good reason for us to spread the gospel.

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Thank you for the really informative reply. It’s interesting because I have two daughters, one is genetically very like me and the other is very like her father, guess which one seems to have inherited the fault???

I agree with you that 20 years ago it was a very different response and approach to arrhythmias, diagnosis was definitely harder to come by. thank god it’s finally coming out of the dark ages.

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Hi Kelly

Yes, my mum had AF, they only found out when she was dying of cancer aged 60 and asked how long she'd had it! My father died aged 88 from a stroke, when he got up to

go to the bathroom in the night, we discovered later that he'd been taking aspirin - don't know why. My sister had it, she ignored it and it went away. My female cousin has it and also my daughter who's racing heart is triggered by stress ( she likes to call them panic attacks) and perhaps they are, they often cause her to pass out.

Mine was diagnosed 14 years ago after a shopping trip with my bosses wife for Christmas decorations and presents for residents in the nursing home where I worked. When my heart started racing she took my pulse (was an RN) and sent me straight off to my doctors surgery where it was immediately confirmed as AF by an ECG. So I had no struggle at all to get it confirmed. Looking back, I believe I was having attacks long before then as I'd get spells of feeling really drained and lifeless which would last for an hour or so and then I'd be fine.

Before AF struck I was sporty, trained twice weekly at the swimming pool, went horse riding, played badminton, did cross country running, cycled and loved long distance walks. I have to say I don't regret a minute of it.

Can you think of any triggers for your AF?

Jean

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Wow, Jean thank you for that reply, that is quite a family history isn’t it. What’s really interesting to me about your reply is the way different people interpret and deal with the condition. We are all so different, I wish I could ignore mine and it would go away.

Have you watched the Netflix documentary, Heal? It’s a bit out there but it really investigates how people respond to negative and positive input and treatment in the face of chronic disease and conditions,It’s fascinating.

I’m glad your road yo diagnosis was swift but I’m sad you have to deal with such a horrible condition.

Food and eating has become a big trigger for me especially in the last few years. My menstrual cycle has always been my main trigger.

I have never tolerated exercise particularly well but for over 10 years I swam a mile everyday. Not fast or particularly well but nonetheless I did it everyday. I had to stop because it started to provoke my SVT. As soon as I got in the dimming position in the water my heart would go mad. I miss it so much.

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Mother and grandmother

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Thank you for your reply, I wonder if you have brothers if so is it just the females affected in your family?

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No brothers just females.

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There was a large research programme for hereditary AF going on in Birmingham with a Professor Kirchhof. I took part with some of it given bloods, and had Echo, don't know if its still on going

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Maternal grandfather, three siblings, one first cousin.

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Thank you, that is so interesting. I wonder if your approach to it is different because you possibly have a deeper understanding of it? I know my daughter definitely has a very different approach than I do, she seems less afraid because she has been brought up with it as relatively normal.

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My mother had AF but it was not diagnosed until she was about 70, she was on Bisoprolol and aspirin (I know but useless GP) until she died aged 91. My daughter (who is 41) has palpitations at times but she does get stressed quite easily, she has been checked out but all seems well. Since I was diagnosed with AF and HF in 2014 and I got to know about triggers ect she has been more careful with her diet, does yoga and she has been much better. So she may develop AF in the future but if she takes care of herself I hope it will be avoided. In our family, my mothers side, we are afected by caffine ( gives all of us fast heart rate) my two sisters, my daughter and myself have avoided tea and coffee for many years because of this. Caffine makes me hyper - hence the fast heart rate, I am sure when I was a child if I had been drinking all the soft drinks that most kids have now, I would have been one of those hyper children. We only had orange drinks, sometimes a fizzy pop and water!!! I have a husband who drinks far too much coke, a no no for me, and a chocoholic, another no no for me, but he does not have any effect on his HR.

My grandmother (maternal) died of a stroke at 65, she may have had AF but I have never been able to find out.

I am sure I have had AF for many years but I too was fobbed off with it is stress, I have had some very stressful times in my life but looking back now I am sure some of it was AF. My AF is now permanent and my only option is a pace and ablate which I am considering.

Cassie

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Thank you for your reply, definitely seems to have been passed through the females in your family. Interesting about your bodies reaction to caffeine, I’m exactly the same! Even the tiny bit of caffeine in decaf coffee makes my heart race 😂 I can’t tolerate coke either, makes my heart race so much and I feel wired! Chocolate isn’t as bad but the odd time if I over indulge it can set me off.

Is it true that permanent AF is less symptomatic? I think I saw it on a Dr Gupta video( I could be making that up 🥴)

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My father has afib and his sister (my aunt) does as well. My grandfather (dad’s father) died of a heart attack. I definitely believe that it can be hereditary.

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Thank you for your reply, I do too.

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Yes, my mother, who is 82, was admitted to hospital yesterday and was in AF. She had a heart valve replaced in 2005 and has struggled with AF since then. I was diagnosed last September, but thankfully not due to heart valve issues. On my mum’s side of the family one of her cousins has AF and two of my great aunts died due to stroke - could have been AF related? Two of my paternal cousins also have AF and my paternal great uncle had a pacemaker fitted in the 70s. So, perhaps a genetic link there in both sides of my family ? On a separate subject I changed meds from bisoprolol to sotalol 2 weeks ago and so far so good - no symptoms, fingers crossed.

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Thank you for your reply, I hope your mum is doing ok.

You could be right about both sides of your family contributing to a genetic link.

I’m sorry you too are now on the list but I’m really glad that your medicine seems to be helping. Take care

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My dad had atrial fibrillation and my brother had atrial flutter .My mum also had some kind of arrythmia but I don't know what hers was so I am inclined to think it is hereditary.I have atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter and am awaiting my 3rd ablation .

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Thank you for your reply, I would be inclined to agree with you. Wishing you all the best for your 3rd ablation. Take good care

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Thank you Kellyjelly x

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Sister and nephew have some heart problems, palpitations but neitherdiagnosed with AF for treatment. Nephews started / became apparent on a holiday with his mates so could be holiday heart!

Dad agent 79 was "semi diagnosed " with Adams - STOKES syndrome but only during/after his death. They could not prove it as he was dying of multiple heart attacks over a couple of weeks, but it was hypothesized as the reason he kept collapsing.

However, all four of us are different conditions . We all led different lives at different times (except my sister and i) so I am not convinced it is genetic.

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Thank you for your interesting reply. Yes I can see from what you say that although all of your problems involve the heart the connection doesn’t seem to be hereditary.

Lifestyle is such a big part of it too isn’t it, my daughter is a very clean living health conscious woman and doesn’t take part in the wild partying that her parents enjoyed at her age! I’m hoping her healthy lifestyle will go some way to protecting her from it progressing over the years. Who knows though.

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We are fairly AF free. Looking at my close family who number 15 (my parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and their children) only two have any suspicion of AF and twelve of them have had no heart problems of any kind.

My five cousins are all alive, all just over 70. My grannies and aunts lived into their eighties and nineties. Peevingly, it's my parents and sister who went early. One grandfather was a WW1 survivor and a heavy smoker. His papers at the Record Office in Kew make very sombre reading.

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Thank you for your interesting reply

It made me think about my wider family. My mum is one of 12 and my dad is one of 4, I have 25 cousins and as far as I’m aware apart from my Aunty who may have had something but it wasn’t diagnosed I am the only one with SVT and AFib apart from my daughter who has had episodes of PSVT. I asked my mum and she said even if someone did have any problems like this they probably wouldn’t even have gone to the doctors, especially years ago, just the way they are/were.

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I suspect my grandfather (not the WW1 one) had AF as I know a doctor told him to stop walking alone in the hills. He sold his house in Windermere and went to live where it was flat, lost his sight and hearing and will to live. His many siblings, apart from the three that died in infancy, mostly lived into their eighties and one died aged 94. His great grandmother appears on the 1851 census aged 98.

Most of my second cousins are still alive but one died aged 47 from a brain haemorrhage. I wonder how many second cousins you have! I think I have 23.

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My mother had PAF and was cardioverted on more than one occasion. She was never put on any drugs as as I know.

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Thank you for replying, I have wondered so much what treatment would have been available to patients in say the 1950’s and before? Even in the1980s it was vastly different. Things have moved on so much, thank god.

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My dad has permanent AF, only flagged up when he was given an ECG for routine skin tag surgery. No one has ever said it's a link to my ongoing problems.

I did get worried when daughter was born and there was some debate about potentially needing extra cardiac screening the day she was born, but after delaying our discharge 3 hours whilst they decided - it wasn't needed.

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Thanks for replying, reading all these replies the link seems so tenuous but at the same time quite obvious. It’s been really interesting reading!

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Yes,my mum and grandma both had AFib xx

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Also on dad's side,he had 3 heart attacks, triple bypass,replacement mitral vale and several strokes,his dad had strokes and heart attack died at 61.

Mum had heart attack too,and heart failure,died of AFib stroke..not anticoagulated unlike me.So draw your own conclusions!!!😀x

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Thank you for replying, I think my conclusion is.....

It’s all random! Just like most things in life 😊

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Hi Kelly Jelly, I have PAF. My maternal grandfather died before I was born - I think in the 1950's thought to be due to a massive stroke out of the blue - previously thought to have been a very healthy working man. one maternal cousin has very erratic blood pressure and anxiety attacks but no AF diagnosis. Another maternal cousin collapsed after her heart stopped out of the blue at work - extremely lucky that a CPR trained van driver saw it and saved her. She was late 30's early 40's at the time and had no prior ill health. I believe her brother is being checked re any related heart issues. One sister has complex health issues but as part of them appears to have a number of debilitating heart rhythm problems but not AF. My mum is in her 80's and appears to have had some slow heart beat issues recently but no AF diagnosis.

I think getting AF diagnoses is still hit and miss unless you get very obvious debilitating attacks that land you in hospital like I did so I think its difficult to know if other family members have AF. When I was diagnose with a type 2 MI and PAF a few years ago, I would have said that the rest of the family had few heart issues, but as others are approaching their 50's it appears that a lot of us are starting to have strange heart problems.

Like yourself I'm becoming more interested in whether there is a genetic link to AF.

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Thank you for that really interesting reply.

I’ve just thought that really the information on genetic links probably doesn’t reach back very far, I would imagine that diagnostics and treatment wasn’t that great for say our grandparents generation.

I think,especially after reading all these posts that the link is quite random but like someone said at the beginning lifestyle etc can influence outcomes, maybe even more than genetics. But then I look at my daughter and she the image of me and is following a very similar pattern so far.

All very interesting 😊

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My dad had it. Also my daughter developed it in her last pregnancy. So seems like it can be hereditary.

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Thank you for replying, my SVT was really bad with both my pregnancies. That must have been hard for her.

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Mine first manifested itself in my second pregnancy. Had constant ectopics which then went into AFib and a hospital stay.

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What a nightmare! My heart problems have always been exacerbated by my menstrual cycle. I’m really susceptible during ovulation and just before my period.

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Definitely a family thing. I was diagnosed a year and a half ago and am one of four sibs who all have afib. Unfortunately we lost a sib 2years ago with a sroke as a result of undiagnosed afib. Females about 10-12 years later than males. Important to know your family history.

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Thank your reply, that would seem like a definite genetic link. It’s so interesting the diversity of answers.

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Yes, it certainly looks that way. Both of my sister and brother and four cousins, all from my fathers side have AF. Three has permanent and three so far Paroxsismal AF. My spelling most likely wrong. It will be interesting to see how many of our children will get this nuisance. So far only two have signs.

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Thank you for your reply, another definite link it would seem. Fingers crossed it doesn’t continue into the next generation 🙏

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My mother had Afib and she lived to 91. She had real estate properties and worked on them until she was 89. Quite remarkable because she took no meds. My EP said my thyroid and genetics played a role. Had an ablation in September and I take xarelto. I’ve been walking 2 miles 6 days a week and have started playing pickleball again. Give your body time to heal and stay positive! 😊

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My father, and my brother. I am going to warn my six children!

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Thank you for your reply, forewarned is forearmed as they say!

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Thank you so much for a lovely reply. Your mother sounds like a very capable woman! Made of strong stuff.

Sounds like you are feeling better than ever, long may it continue 😊

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Yes it can run in families. My Mum, now deceased, passed AF to her two daughters, and my 56yr old son has had three ablations, but hopefully now fixed after the EP did noughts and crosses (maze) on the back of his heart.

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I love the name pollywaffle 😊 hopefully that will be an end to his problems 🙏

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I am 64 my sister is 78, we both have PAF and we both have pacemakers. Yes I think it runs in families.

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Thank you for replying, certainly seems to be the case in some families. 😊

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Hi, yes, all of my children have them, my mother had them and then was diagnosed in later years with Afib. I have had them since a young child and they have been the bane of my existence in the last several years. I don’t have Afib. I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease four years ago with daily arthythmias being my only symptom. They were manageable until six months ago and I just feel like I’ll never feel well again.

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Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds like you are having a terrible time. I hope so much you will get some relief soon and feel better. I presume with all the family history you are well in the system for treatment etc?

Take really good care and get well soon 😊

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Yes both my mothers sister and brother have it and one of my cousins. The good news is my aunt lived to be 94 and my uncle is still going at 92

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Thanks for your reply 😊 wow 94 and 92, there is hope for us all

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I also experienced daily arrhythmias during the first three months of two of my pregnancies, around 20-30 times a day, and those pregnancies were five years apart. When I started having them again like that after five years, I had wondered if I was pregnant, and I was. Only a few of many of my episodes. I appreciate this group so much. I am going to talk with someone at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio) on Monday. They have a good reputation and I just feel that I have to get more opinions. xo

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my paternal grandmother and my dad both had permanent AF

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