Trying to understand AF: I have had AF on and... - AF Association

AF Association

20,244 members24,776 posts

Trying to understand AF

PMR2014
PMR2014

I have had AF on and off for approximately 19 months. Recently, I had been in AF continuously for 6 months when I underwent my first Cardioversion. This was successful but sadly reverted to AF while I was in recovery, a very short time after.

Approximately 2 weeks later I am back in normal rhythm. Very happy, but I would love to know why this has happened.

I am now trying to avoid stress (as I believe this may be a trigger for me) and keep alcohol and caffeine to a minimum. I am on Bisoprolol and Apixiban, eat a healthy diet and have a BMI of 22.

Does anybody have any advice for staying in a normal heart rhythm?

I would also like to understand the science behind why the heart changes rhythm, if anybody can help.

Thank you

34 Replies
oldestnewest
BobD
BobDVolunteer

As I new comer to this game I can see why you are keen to find an answer but for us old stagers we have found that there really isn't one! AF a mongrel conditions and that you have a BMI so low and you say a healthy diet just proves what I have been saying for years that there is no single answer,

We know what AF is but the person who finds out why will gain world fame for hundreds of years just like Flemming I guess.

As far as maintaining NSR, good hydration is vital so plenty of water, not tea , coffee or soft drinks. Plain water. Make sure your pee is clear and if not drink some more water. avoid stress where possible and make sure you sleep well.

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to BobD

Dear Bob

Thank you for your reply.

I will certainly take your good advice re hydration, it is so easy to forget to drink when one is busy. I generally sleep very well but stress I do need to avoid.

I find it surprising that more is not known about AF when so many people suffer with it. Hopefully one day soon, that may change.

Best wishes.

BobD
BobDVolunteer in reply to PMR2014

We know lots about cancer as well but few can be cured! Knowing doesn't always provide solutions.

CDreamer
CDreamer in reply to PMR2014

A lot us known about AF but you need to think of AF as a symptom of a process - so maybe caused by thyroid dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction, obesity, electrolyte instability, dehydration, poor nutrition, apnea, ageing, Mitrochondria dysfunction, other heart conditions, diabetes, stress high blood pressure, Virus or other infection, over exercise, no exercise - to name just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

I have come to understand AF rarely happens in isolation. chronic stress = systemic inflammation = immune response = all of above + some which may then result in AF and there maybe a genetic factor as AF often runs in families.

We need to stop thinking mechanistically and start to look at the system as a whole for wellbeing.

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to CDreamer

Thank you CDreamer for an informative reply. I will read up on the factors you list, I was unaware of some and can dismiss a few in my case.

Thank you.

Super interesting perspective.

You are absolutely right !

I'm pleased to hear your heart is now beating correctly. Can you remember anything you did just before your heart went back into normal rhythm that may account for that happening?

Jean

Thank you and that’s a good question Jean.

Looking back the only thing I can think of, was that I was less active due to a badly sprained ankle that occurred some weeks earlier. I’m normally on the go most of the time.

Good day PMR,

While I would not claim there is ‘a cure’, a few of us here have been AF free, after a surgical intervention. Around three years in my case, while being back to running, bush-walking, etc. Am I cured? Time will tell, possibly yes.

As I see the issue, rogue electrical pulses disrupt the heart rhythm, therefore insulating the relevant electric pathways stops the problem. However, you need a competent electro-cardiologist. Please be aware that “in a small minority of cases the AF continues even after the surgery”.

Never say never Shirley, please explore all there is.

Best wishes

J (-:

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to Globe-J

Hello J

Really good to hear that you have been AF free for about 3 years, I hope it continues for you. It gives hope to others.

At the moment I am just taking one step at a time. Trying to have a healthy diet/lifestyle in the hope of keeping a normal rhythm ...... not sure it will be possible but hoping.

In the meantime I am trying to find out as much as possible and I take on board all your comments.

Wishing you all the best.

Globe-J
Globe-J in reply to PMR2014

Likewise, my best wishes. And a sincere hope that we will hear about your success. Of course, it may be easier to take it easy in our beautiful, sunny Australia

J (-:

Glad to hear of your current status/outcome from ablation 👍🏼

Hi there, I was diagnosed 6 months ago. The only thing that has helped my AF episodes is Magnesium. Not tablet form, but Better You Magnesium spray which is absorbed much better through your skin. You have to be using it for a few weeks for any effect. I have not, so far, had an episode since end of August. You can purchase this on E-Bay or Amazon. I bought a book from Amazon entitled Beat A-Afib by Lisa White. Brilliant book can recommend. I am not saying this may work, but worth a try. Nothing to lose. We all have to find our own way of dealing with this condition, and only we (and God), know our own bodies. Best wishes.

Hi Cavalirrubie

Thank you, I have looked on Amazon and will certainly order Lisa Whites book.

I really prefer to get my minerals naturally from food of which there are many that contain magnesium. Wholewheat flour, spinach, avocado, bananas, nuts, seeds, peas, broccoli, salmon, tuna to name a few. I do eat a good diet, but don’t know if I am getting sufficient. Perhaps I should request a blood test or try and calculate my magnesium intake.

Did you have a blood test before you started using the magnesium spray?

I hope you continue to be AF free and thank you for your post.

FancyPants54
FancyPants54 in reply to PMR2014

Your intake of food containing minerals is worthless if your stomach isn't processing them properly.

Magnesium is depleted in soil now so many of the population are low on this vital mineral. There is no harm in supplementing it.

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to FancyPants54

How does one know if your stomach is processing minerals properly or not?

FancyPants54
FancyPants54 in reply to PMR2014

By testing for levels before you supplement. Especially important for iron. But it's advisable to run a blood test to be sure what's going on. Many people have reduced stomach acid production as they get older. Strangely that can often manifest as too much acid with heart burn and regurgitation etc.

In my case Bob, AF was caused by long period of stress.

As others have said, keep healthy and hydrated, (but don’t overdo it).

And don’t get stressed trying to reduce stress!

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to stamelos

Hi Stamelos, interesting as I think my AF may be triggered by stress.

Have you managed to revert to a normal rhythm at anytime?

Doing my best to stay stress free.

stamelos
stamelos in reply to PMR2014

Sorry gave lengthy reply but crashed!😬 Will try again when have bit more time.

There is no known answer, I found it best to concentrate on cause and effect to try to make life easier but that, as you can imagine, is not easy. There are some good videos on youtube on how the hearts electrical system works and you may find then both interesting and informative. Basically its all to do with Sodium, Calcium and Potassium ions moving between heart cells and a lot more besides. The videos will not answer your question but will give you food for thought on what may be the cause and how to try to manage the condition.

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to Shcldavies

Thank you for your reply.

So I have more minerals to consider. I will certainly watch the YouTube videos on the hearts electrical system. It would be good to understand a little of the science behind AF.

There is so much more to AF than I realised, lots of research to do, but trying to take things easy.

Welcome to the group. It is a great help. When i have an episode of raised heartbeat, going from 60 to 103 have recently discovered that taking a magnesium tablet substantially decreases the length of attack from an average of 2 to 3 hours down to 10 to 20 minutes. I only take one during attack as taking it every day does not seem to have any affect. But everybody is different. Try to eat small snacks during day and keep hydrated. Good luck

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to Lbeat796

That’s interesting, others have also mentioned magnesium to me. It very clearly helps you.

I totally agree with you about having small snacks during the day, preferably healthy ones. They help to maintain blood sugar levels so we don’t get huge dips between meals.

Thank you and good luck to you too.

Hidden
Hidden

Give this a try. Works for me.

----------------------------------

After 9 years of trying different foods and logging EVERYTHING I ate, I found sugar (and to a lesser degree, salt – i.e. dehydration) was triggering my Afib. Doctors don't want to hear this - there is no money in telling patients to eat less sugar. Each person has a different sugar threshold - and it changes as you get older, so you need to count every gram of sugar you eat every day (including natural sugars in fruits, etc.). My tolerance level was 190 grams of sugar per day 8 years ago, 85 grams a year and a half ago, and 60 grams today, so AFIB episodes are more frequent and last longer. If you keep your intake of sugar below your threshold level your AFIB will not happen again (easier said than done of course). It's not the food - it's the sugar (or salt - see below) IN the food that's causing your problems. Try it and you will see - should only take you 1 or 2 months of trial-and-error to find your threshold level. And for the record - ALL sugars are treated the same (honey, refined, agave, natural sugars in fruits, etc.). I successfully triggered AFIB by eating a bunch of plums and peaches one day just to test it out. In addition, I have noticed that moderate exercise (7-mile bike ride or 5-mile hike in the park) often puts my Afib heart back in to normal rhythm a couple hours later. Don’t know why – perhaps you burn off the excess sugars in your blood/muscles or sweat out excess salt?? I also found that strenuous exercise does no good – perhaps you make yourself dehydrated??

Also, in addition to sugar, if you are dehydrated - this will trigger AFIB as well. It seems (but I have no proof of this) that a little uptick of salt in your blood is being treated the same as an uptick of sugar - both cause AFIB episodes. (I’m not a doctor – it may be the sugar in your muscles/organs and not in your blood, don’t know). In any case you have to keep hydrated, and not eat too much salt. The root problem is that our bodies are not processing sugar/salt properly and no doctor knows why, but the AFIB seems to be a symptom of this and not the primary problem, but medicine is not advanced enough to know the core reason that causes AFIB at this time. You can have a healthy heart and still have Afib – something inside us is triggering it when we eat too much sugar or get (even a little) dehydrated. Find out the core reason for this and you will be a millionaire and make the cover of Time Magazine! Good luck! - Rick Hyer

PS – there is a study backing up this data you can view at:

Cardiab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2840-7-28

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to Hidden

Hi Sugarisit

I was really interested in your post re sugar and salt. Well done for logging your food for nine years !

I think that Doctors are concerned about the amount of sugar people consume. It costs the NHS a lot of money each year in treating people with diabetes. The NHS are running a Diabetes Prevention Programme for patients. Diabetes effects so many parts of the body, not just the heart, it is important for so many of us to reduce our sugar levels. The NHS guideline is 70gm total per day, consisting of 40gm from foods such as fruit & vegetables and 30gm of added sugar i.e. from cakes, sweetened tea etc.

Carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread and pasta all break down in the body into sugars,

so it is worth restricting those as well.

Sugar is used up when we exercise. I have no medical background but thinking about dehydration, this would presumably concentrate any sugars in the blood, and that higher concentration may act as a trigger.

I have printed off the paper you cited and will read through when I have more time.

Thank you.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to PMR2014

The NHS guideline of 70 gm. a day of sugar is fine if your threshold is above 70 gm. But if your threshold is, say 50 gm. a day, then consuming 60 gm. a day keeps you in afib permanently. I am seeing a Nutrition Response Doctor right now, and she has gotten my sugar threshold from 48 grams a day to 70. I'm hoping she can get it to 100, which is much easier to keep under and keep Afib at bay forever. If she is successful, I will post it here on this forum. (probably will take another 3-5 months or so before I know).

- Rick Hyer.

I remember my first episode with afib cutting fire wood like someone kicked me in chest. I went in and out of afib for a few months before I went to see the doctor, diagnosed with atrial flutter I was referred to a specialist who did a ablation. It helped but still if I eat wrong or eat to much or drink to much alcohol I get the afib episodes. I am on Pradaxa and sotalol, have tried many others but this seem to be right now the best meds for me. So with the medication to control heart and blood thinner to prevent blood clots which could cause a stroke I feel better during a afib episode. My episode last mostly a few minutes(THANK GOD) Staying in normal rhythm is the goal and preventing a stroke, I loved my junk food but it is now a NO!, I love my alcohol But NO! Everyone is different but these are my triggers for episode of afib. Sometime life choices are very hard to control your afib, Wow I would love to get drunk and eat that junk food, But NO!!!

PMR2014
PMR2014 in reply to Bob002

We have to be strong willed

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Bob002

Don't know if you read this or not, so here it is again. Hope it helps.

--------------------------

After 9 years of trying different foods and logging EVERYTHING I ate, I found sugar (and to a lesser degree, salt – i.e. dehydration) was triggering my Afib. Doctors don't want to hear this - there is no money in telling patients to eat less sugar. Each person has a different sugar threshold - and it changes as you get older, so you need to count every gram of sugar you eat every day (including natural sugars in fruits, etc.). My tolerance level was 190 grams of sugar per day 8 years ago, 85 grams a year and a half ago, and 60 grams today, so AFIB episodes are more frequent and last longer. If you keep your intake of sugar below your threshold level your AFIB will not happen again (easier said than done of course). It's not the food - it's the sugar (or salt - see below) IN the food that's causing your problems. Try it and you will see - should only take you 1 or 2 months of trial-and-error to find your threshold level. And for the record - ALL sugars are treated the same (honey, refined, agave, natural sugars in fruits, etc.). I successfully triggered AFIB by eating a bunch of plums and peaches one day just to test it out. In addition, I have noticed that moderate exercise (7-mile bike ride or 5-mile hike in the park) often puts my Afib heart back in to normal rhythm a couple hours later. Don’t know why – perhaps you burn off the excess sugars in your blood/muscles or sweat out excess salt?? I also found that strenuous exercise does no good – perhaps you make yourself dehydrated?? Also, in addition to sugar, if you are dehydrated - this will trigger AFIB as well. It seems (but I have no proof of this) that a little uptick of salt in your blood is being treated the same as an uptick of sugar - both cause AFIB episodes. (I’m not a doctor – it may be the sugar in your muscles/organs and not in your blood, don’t know). In any case you have to keep hydrated, and not eat too much salt. The root problem is that our bodies are not processing sugar/salt properly and no doctor knows why, but the AFIB seems to be a symptom of this and not the primary problem, but medicine is not advanced enough to know the core reason that causes AFIB at this time. You can have a healthy heart and still have Afib – something inside us is triggering it when we eat too much sugar or get (even a little) dehydrated. Find out the core reason for this and you will be a millionaire and make the cover of Time Magazine! Good luck! - Rick Hyer

Age is definitely one factor for many people who have AF. But something else must trigger it in the younger generations.

Pleased that your 2nd ablation has made such a difference to your life.

Misleading again

For many, ablation may be the best solution, I can see that.

However, the reason I am interested in triggers is because I am in normal rhythm at the moment, and would like to try and stay that way for as long as possible.

You may also like...