Living with Atrial Fibrillation

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Changes in your condition

Changes in your condition

New symptoms

Your symptoms can vary over time and it’s not unusual to experience fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations or dizziness from time to time. If you experience new symptoms or if your current symptoms get much worse, you should go back to see your doctor.

If you experience any fainting spells, chest pain, a rapid heart rate that doesn’t go away or isn’t normal for you, or any symptoms of a stroke then you need to be seen in A&E immediately.

Stroke: know the signs

To remember the signs of a stroke and what to do, think ‘FAST’:

  • Facial weakness – Can you smile evenly? Has your mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness – Can you raise both arms?
  • Speech problems – Can you speak clearly and can you understand what others are saying?
  • Time to call 999.

If these symptoms disappear within 24 hours, it may have been a transient ischaemic attack or TIA (sometimes called a mini stroke). A TIA is a warning sign that you are at a very high risk of having a stroke – so don’t ignore this.

Learn more about stroke

Q&A with Jayne and her life with AF

Hear from Jayne to find out her advice on managing the condition and its symptoms.

Ongoing tests for AF

Because your condition can change over time, you’ll have several tests in the future to monitor your condition and your risk of stroke. These tests may be disruptive to day-to-day life but it’s important to remember that they’re there to protect your long-term health and manage your condition.

If your condition changes, you’ll probably need further ECGs, a cardiac event recorder or an implantable loop recorder.

More on heart rhythm tests

Dealing with heart palpitations

Heart palpitations are a common symptom of AF. They can be uncomfortable and worrying for some patients. They’re more likely to come on if you’ve just been very active, or if you’re stressed or anxious. Some substances like alcohol, tobacco or caffeine can also cause them, or if you have any food allergies.

The best course of action is to rest and try to stay calm – worrying can make them worse. Distract yourself with a gentle activity if you feel well enough.

  • Go for a walk – Do some meditation – Call a friend

You should also discuss your palpitations with your doctor as some medications and treatments can help lessen them.

Read more about palpitations

Our Heart Helpline

Our Heart Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. You can speak to a fully qualified Cardiac Nurse who can advise you on how to take medications, recovering after a hospital stay, making healthy lifestyle changes or understanding test results or a diagnosis.

Call on 0300 330 3311 or email us.

What we will cover next:

  • A summary of the support and advice available to you.
  • How you can start making small, sustainable changes.
  • Inspiring stories to keep you motivated.

Content on HealthUnlocked does not replace the relationship between you and doctors or other healthcare professionals nor the advice you receive from them.

Never delay seeking advice or dialling emergency services because of something that you have read on HealthUnlocked.