Newbie: Hi I am a 55 yr old taxi driver who... - AF Association

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stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed

Hi I am a 55 yr old taxi driver who was told I was having anxiety symptoms for years. I had one or two monitor tests that came back normal until eventually I wore an heart monitor for a week and that recorded an episode of atrial fibrillation. I am taking a low dose of beta blocker which I feel as helped a lot until this weekend when I sort of overdid it in the alcohol intake. I went out with friends on sat evening but it wasn't until the Sunday evening when I went to bed that a fib kicked in and lasted several hours. It is now Monday morning and I feel worried, worn out, and shaky, hence me joining this lovely site. This is my first time writing and just wanted to introduce myself and hope to gain more knowledge on this subject, thank you for reading :)

22 Replies
oldestnewest

Apologies for large pic I did not realise it would be so large and scary, sorry. ;)

Hi - it’s a great place you’ve joined - lots of knowledgeable posters and helpful information. It’s natural I think to be full of anxiety about your condition and I hope you’ll get it sorted soon. I know that alcohol made me have ectopic beats so have given it up for some four years now - I found it wasn’t worth.

Another thing that I find helps with anxiety is walking and swimming. Best wishes

stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed
in reply to Camgirl

Thanks for reply, I agree that giving up alcohol is probably a must if I need to reduce the aggressive behaviour of the irregular heartbeat, people say to me you can still go out with your friends but just drink water or orange juice. Well anyone here who as been a frequent user of bars of a weekend will know what an upheaval of lifestyle that is going to take 🥴. But yes I fear that is my first task. I do lots of walking albeit on the treadmill, I can walk and jog 5k and feel great afterwards. Thanks for the welcome and look forward to hearing more comments from your good self and everyone else, I am sure I will learn so much.

Welcome to this site. It's sad that we are all drawn here by health issues, but wonderful to have support from so many who have been there. There is a lot of information on the site that you can read and also give you more information to use when you see your doctor. I had my first AF attack after a night of partying, and it is scary. Reducing the alcohol will help everything, even if it doesn't stop the AF. For those of us on anti-coagulants, the recommended amount of alcohol is zero, but my EP says a 5oz glass of wine every so often is acceptable. He prefers red :) You didn't mention if you have an ElectroPhysiologist (EP). These are the cardiologists with a specialty in arrythmias. You might want to ask your cardiologist if a referral to an EP is warranted in your case. Keep following your doctors orders, and keep checking this site for support and information. Again, welcome!

stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed
in reply to Jjda

Thanks for reply Jjda , My cardiologist prescribed me beta blockers patted my head and told me to run along and get on with my life, and I was in shock really I did not understand what Afib actually was and she made it all sound like I had a headache so I didn’t ask any questions. When I go into afib it feels like the end of the world to me, I go into depression for several days and feel like my life is over, it takes a great deal of determination to talk myself back into sanity. But knowledge is power so they say and I am sure the knowledge I will gain from chatting to you lovely people can only help thank you 👍

It is scary especially if your heart feels like it is trying to beat out of your chest. But once this had happened a few times I found I was less worried about it. I try to relax , take some extra beta blocker, use my Kardia to see that my rate is coming down and wait for it to pass. This usually happens when I am sleeping. You could try supplementing with magnesium as this helps prevent attacks in some people. I have not given up drinking altogether but confine myself to one unit of wine with my dinner. I have to avoid large meals as these can set off ectopics which have always preceded afib attacks with me. There are lots of nice and knowledgeable people here to give you support.

You describe exactly what many of us went through - and 12 years on I am still here. We sometimes say that AF is not immediately life-threatening - it just feels as though it is!

Your job means you sit a lot, probably have frequent stress and this may have caused back issues and a dominant sympathetic vagus nerve (perhaps considered anxiety ). I think AF is influenced, maybe caused by issues with nerves in the neck and back. Probably few doctors or people do. You may wish to see if you have back issues. There is a way to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves. If you can avoid all the usual AF treatments, this might be worth a bit of time at the beginning of your journey.

stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed
in reply to EngMac

Thanks for reply, yes your right back and neck issues are a constant and I will definitely follow up your advice 👍

Redot
Redot
in reply to EngMac

Sorry for jumping in on this thread but this is what I think is causing my afib. Would you be able to direct me to the place where I could get this balancing. I have searched the internet and can’t find anything. Thanks

Hi stoneyrosed and welcome to the forum. You have certainly found the right place for advice and information about all aspects of dealing with heart rhythm problems.

Your story is like so many of ours - not feeling quite right now and then and boom - diagnosis. The best place to start is to read, read and read - the main AFA website is full of advice and leaflets which you can download at heartrhythmalliance.org/afa

Also, have a look at lifestyle changes which you might be able to make to lessen the impact of AF. Unfortunately, one of those changes (in my case, anyway) is to limit alcohol intake.☹️

If you have any questions, do ask - each of us has been where you are today.

stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed
in reply to Finvola

Thanks so much Finvola, yes I will download information and read, as I said previously knowledge is def power, take care 😊

Welcome to the site and the company of more than 16,000 fellow AFib veterans! I came in after an ablation with a tough recovery but have had the diagnosis for 2 years and had tachycardia before that.

I am hoping you are on some anti coagulant as well as the beta blocker. The anticoagulant will prevent your having a stroke - very important!

Once you figure out that the AFib isn’t going to kill you you can address it better and actually hear and evaluate all the medical jargon and choices - including stuff like yoga, meditation and deep breathing.

Now, about the booze. I am unfortunately well versed in ignoring the admonitions of my doctor to cut it to one beer or wine a day max. I come from a long line of drinkers who could hold their liquor and thought that meant the rules didn’t apply to us.

Made it to 71 and then the AFib arrived. BECAUSE I like my beer/wine so much, decided I had to quit totally during the 3-4 month recovery period after ablation. I was so scared of more attacks it was easy least the first month. Now that I feel some better it’s harder to pass up BUT I AM. Have even been to several outings where I am the only one with the fizzy water and cranberry juice.

My concentration learning music has improved and I have lost 4 pounds and I do not miss hangovers in the least.

I don’t know if I will tempt self by trying to have just an occasional one drink after July when recovery period is up. It’s kind of freeing to just say/think “ I don’t drink these days - had enough in the 53 years I indulged.”

Whatever you do, good luck!

Thank you for reply. Yes the cardiologist did not deem it necessary for me to go on anticoagulants due to my age apparently but definitely something to think about in the near future. Glad your doing so well and long may it continue. On my way to work right now and I know the day will bring me stress and anxiety but the bills need paying etc ! 😳 Driving in the big cities certainly is no fun anymore. The social aspect of not meeting my friends for a drink will hurt me more than not having a drink I think but something I must get used to. Take care 👍

I had my first and only flutter in April and I associated the last 2 last summers' 'palpitations' with alcohol, so I was very wary of having a beer. I had one...slowly....no problem..2 weeks later I had two. No problem but the beta blockers (a mere 25mg meto) made me a bit sleepy. My plan is to only drink 2 beers max (slowly) in the mid afternoon, (and no 10.5% IPAs)....so making a night of it isn't an option... NO need to give up alcohol for life, especially if it's big part of your social life. The whole point of it all is to have a nice life, and not end up as a medicated zombiefied lonely cabbage... After a bit of practice, 2 pints of 5% ABV over 2 hours in the afternoon, can be very enjoyable..... The worry will lessen with time, although mine was at gibbering level coz they double dosed me in the hospital and stopped my heart for 5 seconds...5 times over. Now THAT gets you worried ... But it passes, and now I feel great...

Hidden
Hidden

Have you had an Echocardiogram? If not, I would certainly ask for one as you need to know if your heart is structurally normal. Many of our hearts on here are normal, but others have discovered that they need to have other tests to exclude other causes/issues. It is a non - invasive and relatively cheap test done by ultrasound - I had one done privately for £300 ( my brother paid!) and it was a relief to know my heart was structurally normal.

If you continue to have episodes, you need to be seen by the cardiologist again for a treatment review. Ask your GP to refer you or ring the Cardio’s secretary if you remain under review by them. This isn’t something you should just be left to deal with yourself.

All the best

Pat x

stoneyrosed
stoneyrosed
in reply to Hidden

Hi, Yes I had an echocardiogram and my heart was structurally sound. (Can anyone explain what that means exactly) the cardio gave me betas and signed me off with a smile and told me to enjoy life. I do try but the odd flutter and anxiety set me back enormously.

Hi & welcome - The echocardiogram gives a picture of your moving heart. The technicians are then able to look at how your heart muscle moves, if it is ‘stiff’ then it won’t be that flexible and be efficient at pumping the blood around. It will show if the atria, upper part of the heart, has enlarged or not - this can be important and sometimes happens if you have had a lot of AF in the past. It will show how the valves operate so it is all about the structure of the heart.

I think of it like this - You have a house - the heart - in the house you have a plumbing system - the blood vessels - you have an electrical system. You can have faults in any one, two or all of the above. AF (your ‘flutter’) is a faulty wiring system which can be caused by faulty plumbing or faulty structural work.

Your echocardiogram told your doctor you are structurally sound so that is really good news and no obvious plumbing faults - that’s important - the wiring bit can be bit tricky but there ARE treatments so read up and inform yourself and keep reading the post - you will pick up a LOT of info and don’t settle for being fobbed off.

Best wishes CD

Awe poor you it’s such a shock when this all happens.....we’ve all been there, me it was last May. All I can say is it will get easier as initially it seems life will never be the same. And socially yes I loved my wine and when I found out it was best for no alcohol it was like a blow bigger than the afib tag I was given......but quite honestly I felt so rough after my first attack I didn’t want to drink......the hard bit came when I felt ok . You seem to have only been given bisoprolol, a lot of us have had other tablets as well as bisoprolol or the like.....especially anticoagulant.

I’m no expert here I’m a newbie being here a year, as some of these lovely people have been here years and are much more experienced......but there is an option of ablation? They say early done the better success .....I’ve had mine January and am now hoping, fingers crossed things are going to stay good. So what I mean by saying that is, there are options and not to be disheartened by you’re recent “ crazy”....my cardio calls the afib beast attacks the Crazy’s! Perhaps ask to see an EP. I’m in France they don’t have ep’s but this is what I hear all our U.K. folk say.

I think all of us will tell you, life will pretty much settle down and once you get the fright of all this out of your system you will be surprised how normal life is. I thought my life was over! Silly me.....it wasn’t and it all calms down after the awful fright of it all....

Alcohol I tend to drink no alcohol Heineken it tastes just the same these days......if I go out I have a real beer and then a no alcohol beer........if we go to eat I do have two glasses of red wine, but I drink plenty of water too......I’m still scared to go further as I don’t want to go back......you can still socialize but yes I do understand exactly how bereaved you feel about it, it was the same for me....

I think you will have to try it out fir yourself see what works for your body weare all diferent here with alcohol affecting us, some get away with it some don’t......Why not try out a few options see what works for you......you’ve nothing to loose.....(.don’t have tonic water it is well known for afib.)....cardio said no white wine so I have red, but check out the 12 per cent, don’t go higher per cent.....

The good bit of cutting down or stopping is the weight falls off...for that I’m very grateful.....and that weight loss will help with afib too.

Try not to feel too down, it will level out in your mind and not be the huge big deal it feels now.

Chin up,

Sue

Lovely post thank you, cardio told me there was no need for ablation and to be honest I will be happy taking 2.5 mg of bisoprol for as long as I possibly can, told I can take an extra one in case I go into afib, so far only had to do that one one occasion. This is a great site and already I am feeling happier 😊

Hi Stoneyrosed. Welcome to the forum. It is normal to feel anxious when first diagnosed with Afib( atrial fibrillation).The symptoms ( what you experience with it when you have it) are very unpleasant. Yes read about it in safe medical sites and you are in a good place here in this forum with people who had experience of it.

Please do not panic , just do the right things like very little or 0 alcohol ( small sacrifice for your health), exercise, deep breathing , socialise and mix with positive people. Also ask your cardiologist to be put on anticoagulants to prevent strokes, as people with AFib are 5 times exposed to stroke than people without AFib.

Eat healthily, have 6-7 hours sleep, enjoy your life also to balance your hard working life.

Happy for you to be on this forum , you will find a lot of support. Good luck, keep us informed of your progress.

Did anyone tell you your normal resting heart rate? Beta blockers can lower your heart rate and keep it lower. Too low is not good and I find low heart rate seems to trigger my AF. Anticoagulants are needed by some people but not all. They can lower stroke risk; but if your risk is now fine lowering fine may not be worth the risk of increased brain and intestinal bleeds. There is a bit of a trade off. You probably should listen to your cardiologist.

You have had very few AF episodes. Doctors can tend to go overboard with medications but yours has not, which is good. You may not need any. I suggest that you pay attention to when your AF occurs and what you were doing. You may find a trend. Mine is back and neck issues. One time I thought it was food. I can tell by the feeling in my back if AF will occur. Feeling the pulse in my wrist confirms it. Now I can often stop the AF if I change my back by moving, stretching, etc. If not, it often stops when I happen to move a certain way and I notice the change in feeling in my back. Now this has taken a long time to learn all this and I have done lots of things to try to change the condition of my back. Try taking collagen supplements. We are not as efficient at making collagen when we get older. If you have taken fluroquinolones (Cipro like antibiotics) this could be the cause of your AF since they can damage tendons and ligaments. There is a good chance this is the cause of my AF. The FDA, in the States, has issued lots of warnings about these drugs and they should be avoided unless there is no other choice to keep you alive. Doctors have and probably still prescribe them when other drugs can be effective. Often doctors don't know the warnings and sadly you cannot depend on pharmacists to be the check and balance since many tend to shy away from questioning doctors..

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