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AFIB or Something Else
I'm 41 year old Male who has been drinking heavily for the last 2 years. I also smoke about a pack of cigarettes a week. I noticed about 3 months ago my heart started skipping beats frequently and consistantly through out the day. It kind of comes and goes during the week. I bought a blood preasure monitor 3 weeks ago and i get consistant readings of 142/90 and 82 heartbeat. I've cut back on drinking and smoking recently. My question is, Does this sound like AFIB? My heart rate never goes above 100 unless i exercise. And when i monitor my heart skipping beats with my blood preasure monitor its always around 80. I am prescibed Lorazepam and Propranolol for Anxiety and high blood presure. I Hardly ever took the Propranolol because it made me nausous with stomach problems. But after reading about AFIB I started taking the Propranolol (beta blocker) again about 3 days ago and haven't had any skipped beats since. Does this sound like AFIB? I've got a primary doctors apointment in 2 months, I just wanted to know what you guys think? I never have any of the other symptoms of AFIB; Just my heart skipping beats.
Thumper2, February 2, 2021 8:22am EST
TinMan2, I can't really analyze your heart problems, but I can say that AFib manifests itself in many different ways in different individuals. What I would recommend is that you see an electrophysiologist (EP) -- they are cardiologists who specialize and are more up-to-date in the treatment of AFib. An EP should be able to test your heart (perhaps wear a Holter Monitor for a few days?) to see if the skipped beats are just "normal" or if they represent the onset of AFib. Cutting back, or eliminating, smoking and drinking is a good thing, as many on this forum have attested; however, my husband and I have never smoked or consumed alcohol, and we still got AFib -- nobody knows quite where it comes from. Keep us posted!
TinMan2, February 2, 2021 7:07pm EST
Thanks for the reply thumper. I dont know if my blue cross/ blue shield will cover an electrophysiologist without my primary doctor refering one. I guess i will find out in a couple of months at my next appointment. I will defiently post again.
Sus8888, February 14, 2021 1:49am EST
I use to get lots of pounding from my heart and beats skipped. I have pericarditis and heart defect but overall, my heart is strong, am not taking meds. My doctor said everything was fine when I asked him about the heart pounding. So, my husband got me the Apple Watch, best gift ever. When I had another episode of heart pounding, I did the ekg on my watch and it said Atrial fibrillation. I went to the hospital and they confirmed it. Now I check my watch every time my heart jumps a beat. The thing with atrial fibrillation, you have to catch it when it happens, because your heart can go back to normal after a few minutes or hours. The Apple Watch records your heart beat all day long, I checked the data for the last few months, and I had a fib moment when I was asleep back in October, my heart rate went from 53 beats a min to 147 in 5 minutes at 12:53 am. It's amazing the data u can get. I feel like I'm in more control of this condition.
Thumper2, February 15, 2021 7:24am EST
Sus8888, I'm glad that your Apple Watch has benefitted you so much. But I always recommend that, with AFib, you also need to see an electrophysiologist (EP), i.e., a cardiologist who specializes in treating atrial fibrillation. Even if your symptoms are not presently worrisome all the time, your heart may be in the process of slow deterioration (this is what happened to me), to the point where helpful treatments such as ablations are not effective and the AFib becomes much more problematic. An EP is likely to catch things that a GP or a regular cardiologist may not. Please keep us posted!
Sus8888, February 15, 2021 11:16pm EST
Thank you for your feedback. Unfortunately this is the beginning of my a fib journey. I will definitely mention the EP specialist to my cardiologist. I'm just glad that I was able to finally find out why my heart was always pounding and skipping beats. I'm going for a sleep apnea test, maybe that's the cause of my a fib, my cardiologist suggests we wait and see before she put me on medicines. I will keep u posted:)
Thumper2, February 16, 2021 8:11am EST
Sus8888, a sleep apnea test is a good thing to do. If you have sleep apnea and are dealing with it, this is very likely to have a good effect on your AFib and on the success of any treatments (such as ablations) you may subsequently have. Many of us here have shared our experiences with sleep apnea. All the best,
Sus8888, February 18, 2021 1:57pm EST
I willl have to wait till the summer for the test due to Covid, sleep apnea runs in my family. Thanks for your feedback. Keep safe!
DkinAA, February 19, 2021 8:48am EST
Sus8888, I was set up with a sleep study as part of my initial work-up for afib 5 years ago and have been using a CPAP machine ever since - sleeping a lot better, and helped with the afib as well.
There are now at-home tests for sleep apnea. My wife had one recently - equipment was delivered to our home. You wear a gadget that is like a clunky pulse oximeter on one arm that is able to sense when breathing stops by tiny changes in how the blood vessels in your finger expand and contract with your pulse. (I researched this - very cool!)
Not as good as a full-blown sleep study (the "gold standard") but our health care system trusted it enough to prescribe a CPAP machine on the basis of the results. The second study that I had (to determine the best pressure) was apparently unneeded because they used the automatic pressure adjustment on the machine. She had some televisits with the sleep specialist as follow up - the machine uploads data that they can view. So far, so good. You might want to see if this is an option with your provider.
P.S. I am an Apple Watch user too - it's been a real help!
Sus8888, February 21, 2021 12:15am EST
I really appreciate the info, will look into the sleep apnea home test. Right now I am booked for a in hospital sleep clinic study in 6 months so I am a little anxious that it's taking so long. My brother has sleep apnea and he's always telling me to get a cpap machine, he says it's the best sleep he's ever had. I love my Apple Watch, my cardiologist says I should go to the hospital if my a fib continues for more than 8-12 hours so the watch really helps.