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Newly diagnosed with AFib but not a rookie
Greetings to Everyone I'm Grateful to have found this forum. I am female and 68 years old. In very good health. Now that I've been diagnosed, and I've thought about this irregular heartbeat, I'm pretty sure I've had this for many years, if not Afib, ectopic beats that would come and go. The past year, I've noticed a racing, irregular heartbeat/rate quite often and lasting for hours, sometimes 12 hours. I am/was asymptomic for the most part. Felt crappy during the episodes, would go lay down whenever possible and just wait them out. Last Fall, they became more frequent and finally, I broke down and went to Urgent Care who determined I was in Afib, called EMS and took me straight to ER. Heartrate 188 not sure what my BP was, not crazy high I don't think. I was admitted, given the IV and after about 4 hours returned to sinus rhythm. I was released after my echo which was normal, they asked me if I was an athlete I did run distance for 25 years starting at age 38. All my blood work was within normal ranges, chest Xray normal. I eat organic diet, no sugar, gave up alcohol, no processed or refined foods, was not taking any pharmaceuticals not even an antibiotic for years. I walk and stair climb daily for my job I own a professional pet sitting service. Non smoker.
Now I'm on 2 Metropolol daily 25mg and 1 Eliquis 5mg daily. This had kept me Afib FREE from October 23, until December 23 when I had 2 days back to back of 5 - 6 hour episodes. I've not read as many posts as I intend to, wanted to introduce myself, but so far I haven't read about anyone's experiences during an episode. Most of the episodes WIPE ME OUT! I cannot do a lot, I'm just "tuckered out", then as soon as I return to sinus rhythm I feel perfectly normal. If the episode lasts 10 hours it takes me a day or so to get my Energy back all the way. During episodes, if I continue to function, and I have done this, I'm a tad short of breath and if I haven't eaten I compound the symptoms bc of sugar levels and electrolytes dropping. I want to mention the cardiologist who is an EP too, said they do not know what has caused my Afib.
This past Saturday I had a very bad episode lasted 8 hours and I was extremely tired out during it. I fell asleep with 144 BPM according to my AliveCor (which I'm so glad I purchased it but I do not subscribe), but woke up on Sunday morning in sinus rhythm. I go in for a stress test on Feb 3, and a follow up visit with cardio guy on Feb 7. I just want to not have these episodes that last and seem so severe to stop. I used to travel alone but since this has been happening so frequently, I am finding I don't want to go far from home anymore and my world is getting smaller and I don't want that but it's the fear of having an episode that keeps me from doing some things. Idk how some of you can be in Afib all the time and be able to function? I'm thinking some people have it to a stronger degree than others? I'm new to being a patient so please forgive me if I seem all over the map. Just wondering how everyone actually feels during an episode and when do you go to ER? I guess I'm not sure what to do when these episodes happen.
I'm really learning a lot with each of the threads I've read and I intend to keep learning. Blessings to all! You are all very Brave.
BeverlyRae, January 21, 2020 9:15pm EST
Welcome! From what I can tell, many of us experience Afib differently, although certain experiences seem to resonate with many others.
I was diagnosed in my late 40's and am fortunate in being less symptomatic than many are - I mostly experienced "jangliness" and tiredness - not so badly as to interrupt work (at a desk) or most daily activities, but always with underlying tiredness that seemed to wear me down. My cousin experienced greater severity in her episodes before her only ablation, while I have had four ablations in 7 years. I have received explanations for the recurrences that made sense to me. And my doctor told me, after Afib returned on Sotolol (after Metropolol failed), that it was my decision whether I was ready to try an ablation. Little did I know that my Afib would need several ablations to effectively control, as well as a pacemaker for bradycardia that was perhaps medication-induced and resulted in brief fainting spells. I eat fairly healthily but am now moderately overweight (but was not when I was diagnosed), so I am now focusing more on healthy nutrition and moderate exercise. And I got checked and am being treated for sleep apnea, which I did not believe I had. It is a journey, and our trips are different, yet often similar.
Best wishes as you go forward - and I hope the path soon becomes easier. I encourage you to be your own advocate, which can help identify issues and get timely treatment.
rfedd, January 21, 2020 9:46pm EST
Welcome to the group. To answer one question, my cardiologist tells me if the HR goes above 150, head for the ER. My first episode was in may, with atria at 156 and ventricles at 140. I went back into sinus after two hours in the ER using meds. Since starting on Metoprolol and Amiodarone, have not had another "major" event. A minor one on October 24th at a HR at 115. So far so good. I did see an EP who would not entertain an ablation anytime in the near future. Part of that reason being that I just had spinal fusion. The other reason being that things seem under control for now with the meds
Thumper2, January 22, 2020 8:18am EST
Poojeanie, I hope you'll look into having one (or more) ablations, to get your AFib under "control." Have your ablations done by an EP who has a long and successful record of doing them. Unfortunately, even if you have few symptoms, it's likely that your heart is remodeling itself in negative ways. We're glad you're here! Keep us posted as to your progress.