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speedbird2, June 9,  2016  12:33pm EST

Do I have A Fib?

I recently had a stroke & was told it was caused by A Fib; however I had had numerous tests before & after my stroke but none confirmed A Fib. How can I be told that I have A Fib with no confirmation? I was put on Eliquis but its too expensive & Warfarin gave me severe headaches & too much blood testing. I am now taking 2, 81 mgs of aspirin/day. How can they diagnose me with A Fib while all my tests were negative?
  • Bluebird
    Bluebird, June 17,  2016  1:21pm EST
    Re the potassium & diet  issues - I try to only put out generalized info. on what relates to me as each person's situation is different. If U diagnosed with any arrythmia & electrolytes/cardiac enzymes out of balance U can obtain copies of the tests results performed at the time + any  subsequent tests later. Mine was out of balance back in 2014  @ diagnosis time but recovered afterwards. However I still take a low dose potassium pill & magnesium pill each day (for night foot/leg cramps). If U Google those U will get info. on the levels & which safe/unsafe etc. as too much can be dangerous. I had a rapid 13 lb weight loss in '14 after severe fracture injury so ? what put things out of whack but did not gain the weight back again. Re the ? on diet issues after cardiac surgery, stroke etc. that is a very individual situation because of other problems. I have no diabetes, high BP, cardiovascular disease or any family history of those so not a big worry.  For me the Mediterranean diet works (though I rarely eat any meat) & I eat the main "super foods" : spinach/nuts/grapes/fruits/salads/veggies/Greek yogurt/whole grains/fresh fish (& canned sardines) + a little dark chocolate & cashew/almond milk, but "naughty" items maybe once a week or so. Try to avoid fried anything/pastries/cakes etc. The Mayo Clinic diet is useful to check out + other well established ones (avoid "fad" diets like Paleo etc.). If U have good insurance it will sometimes pay for a consultation with a dietician or nutritionist but if not, might be worth the $ out of pocket as they can tailor things to a person's special needs. One thing that is vital is exercise exercise exercise - aerobic & non-aerobic (strength/weight training etc.) & even water walking in a pool. I have a friend (88) with severe heart failure (with pacemaker/defibrillator) who exercises just about every day to keep fit & stable. I have always worked my body hard doing something so mostly never been a problem for me but for those not used to it can be a real challenge - you have to be fully committed to getting & staying well. I don't really believe people who claim they can't fit into a group exercise of some kind - I live in a retirement community now & sometimes go to a class like T'ai Chi (also do @ home) or a low impact fitness routine. All exercises can be adapted/modified to your own level (I have a permanent arm/shoulder/knee issue). Nobody ever says anything negative or hurtful & even if they did I would answer back! Once you're fully & totally engaged in your personal health/fitness plans & goals it's easier to fit it into your life & for others to accept it. I would never let anyone dissuade me from or interfere with my own so my advice is to have at it & stick with it - it's YOUR life, nobody else can live it for you.
  • Tea Sipper
    Tea Sipper, June 16,  2016  6:09am EST
    Potassium is only dangerous if you are on certain drugs like ACE inhibtors and ARB blockers which retain potassium. Otherwise you might need potassium if you are on  diuretics like Dihydrochlorizide and similar drugs because they deplete your potassium. So if your doctor recommended taking potassium, then you should do it. Hope this helps. Jack
  • ter
    ter, June 15,  2016  1:01pm EST
    Please provide more info about the dangers of adding potassium.   I am low in potassium and my heart doctor agreed i should take it twice a day, so I know I am okay, but still would like more info on the dangers of taking it
  • Trish
    Trish, June 15,  2016  1:36am EST
    Thanks Jack! Am not on those meds but always glad for more info and this board is just wonderful for all sorts of afib knowledge.My potassium sources are all foods...esp Paleo banana bread!Best,Trish
  • Tea Sipper
    Tea Sipper, June 14,  2016  6:03am EST
    Trish, adding potassium to your diet could be dangerous if you are taking ACE and ARB drugs which are potassium sparing drugs. Examples would be Lisinopril and Losartan, respectively. Check with your pharmacist first before taking any potassium supplements! I wouldn't worry about potassium in foods though. Most foods would be safe, I think. Jack
  • Trish
    Trish, June 13,  2016  1:59am EST
    Hello G B,you are so right! Living with afib is all about figuring out your particular triggers. Adding magnesium and  potassium are impt. Lots of water, regular exercise and reading everything you can get your hands on all help. New research happening every day and think we will have some real answers soon.  Best,Trish
  • GrandmaB
    GrandmaB, June 12,  2016  4:34pm EST
    Thank you, bfboca.  I do read this forum diligently and am learning so much.  I did stop drinking wine after reading that alcohol may be a trigger.  I am just learning about potassium and magnesium as it relates to Afib.  I was given a couple of books for Mother's Day and am finally getting around to reading them.  I have found that when I am overly tired it can trigger an event.  I think I'm slowly getting a handle on this thing. ( Fingers crossed )
  • bfboca
    bfboca, June 12,  2016  7:03am EST
    Hi GrandmaB.  You have paroxysmal afib meaning that it comes and goes.  I suggest you read this forum daily and pick up different trigger possabilities that may be causing some of your events.  Maybe all of them, maybe none of them.  But try them all out and hope you get lucky and reduce your events.  I eliminated alcohol and caffeine and I believe it reduced my events.  I've also put more potassium and magnesium in my diet and I think that's helping.  But how do you really know?  Hopefully somthing is working and that, in turn, is reducing your number of events.  Bob
  • JimMtl
    JimMtl, June 11,  2016  6:32am EST
    How does one know if one has AF or another less dangerous form of arrhythmia?  Of course, the EKG gives a definitive answer.I have the kit from HeartMath Institute for heart coherence biofeedback training.  Another benefit of the system is that I can see the actual waveform of my heart beats (pulse) in real time on my computer screen.  The waveform of normal sinus rhythm is very distinct as is the waveform of AF.  The waveform for PVCs, strong pulse followed by a pause, also has a distinctive pattern.  It's not that expensive and has other health benefits, so check out HeartMath Institute's coherence trainer.
  • Mellanie at StopAfib.org
    Mellanie at StopAfib.org, June 11,  2016  6:28am EST
    speedbird,There are co-pay cards for most of the new anticoagulants, including Eliquis. Here is where you find all the offers for Eliquis, including a $10 co-pay card that is good for 24 months.Please keep in mind that aspirin will not protect you from an afib-related stroke; you need an anticoagulant to do that. Now that you have had a stroke, you have two points on the CHA2DS2-VASc stroke risk prediction scale (and if you're female, that adds one more point, and you get other points for age). I'm presuming that they don't know what caused your stroke (called cryptogenic stroke, or stroke of unknown origin). Let me encourage you to read some new materials from the American Heart Association about this topic (I had the privilege to be part of the process). Here is the backstory about the creation of the materials, and you will find links there to the various AHA materials to read.A significant portion of strokes of unknown origin are attributable to afib, and when you add that to the amount of strokes definitely caused by afib, you can have almost half of all strokes being due to afib.In your case, you may want your doctor to rule afib out rather than rule it in. An EKG, which is a single point in time, cannot make the determination - you more likely need either a 30-day montior, or an implanted monitor (such as the Reveal LINQ).  Mellanie
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