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I was just diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, and am seeking more information about this condition. To get this diagnosis was such a shock.
I am 66 and have always been pretty healthy - I eat well, exercise, don't drink too much or smoke, although I do have high blood pressure and take HCTZ for it for many years.
About six months ago I received a diagnosis of macular degeneration, which my mother had and she eventually was blind. It was upsetting to me. Shortly after, my husband cheated and we went to our Pastor and a marriage counselor; I felt quite a bit of anxiety and stress over this but decided to try to take a positive attitude and work on my marriage.
Then I began feeling my heart racing but it went away. I felt another episode of heart racing and feeling faint or dizzy and went to the ER. My EKG was normal. It continued with another, worse episode a month later and I went to the doctor. My blood was checked and it was found that my potassium was low. I was put on potassium supplements. He also had me wear a monitor and afib was detected. While I was wearing the monitor, I had a stressful interaction with my husband and drank too much alcohol. I also was on antibiotics for a painful urinary tract infection.The monitor showed a 12 minute episode of afib.
I don't know where to go from here. I am now on a blood thinner and Metoprolol. My blood pressure is well controlled and I feel okay, but I am wondering if I will always have afib and if anxiety is playing a role in it. And the more I think about the condition, the more anxious I feel. I have to have a nuclear stress test next.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Jeanamo815, December 14, 2018 1:38pm EST
Welcome to our forum, DeeJay!
I am glad that you have been seeing a doctor who has prescribed Metoprolol which will help control your heart rate and also a blood thinner to protect you from stroke. That is a step in the right direction.
Having the nuclear stress test is important as well. and will help your doctor determine what medicines or procedures may be indicated for you. Are you seeing an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist who has specialized training in heart arrhythmias)? It is good to be in the care of an experienced EP.
I think that most members of our group will agree that anxiety and other "stessors" may not cause, but seem to contribute to a-fib for many of us. If you type in the word "anxiety" into the search section at the top of the page, you may find other posts about dealing with anxiety and the role it may play in our a-fib experiences.
You have certainly had reason to be anxious and stressed with the things going on in your life. It would probably be a good idea for you to continue to see a counselor or therapist ...with or without your husband....in order to help you deal with your present situation. As I am sure you now realize, alcohol does not mix well with domestic problems... and for some people, it can be a trigger for a-fib as well. Drinking alcohol can also interact with some of the medicines you may be taking so that is something else you may need to take into consideration. It is common practice for many people to use alchohol to self medicate when they are living in a stressful situation such as yours.
I hope that you will know that you are not alone dealing with anxiety...or in joining us on this "a-fib journey". I think you will find support and helpful information from members of our forum as we share our experiences. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are getting along. We are glad you have joined our group.
Wishing you the best...and better days ahead,
(My A-fib Experience Community Leader)
BethClark, December 15, 2018 6:52am EST
Getting an aFib diagnosis is a lot to deal with. Add that to all the other stressors in your life...wow! Unfortunately, aFib is more than just a physical problem for many of us. (Doctors don't necessarily understand that.) Learning more about aFib should help to make you more comfortable with this diagnosis over time. As Jean says, there are a lot of postings about the anxiety that many of us have experienced about aFib. Asking questions and hearing about what others in the forum are feeling has helped me. You're not alone in this journey. You're wondering if aFib will go away. Well, it isn't something that can be cured. But for many of us it can be managed well.
By reading the forum posts, you'll hear about a variety of treatments that different members receive. It's important to work with your doctor to come up with the right treatment for you. What works for some doesn't work for others. It might take a while to find what is going to work for you. For a long time, it was very difficult for me to handle the thought that an aFib episode could happen anytime. I was so anxious that I didn't go anywhere. Luckily, my cardiologist has come up with the right treatment for me and it's been 2 1/2 years since I've had any problems. Over time I've been pretty much expanding my comfort zone and am almost back to what was my normal life before that dreaded aFib diagnosis.
With all you've got going on, managing your stress is going to be important to be able to get through the days. By finding this forum, you've made a good first step trying to deal with the stress of living with aFib. Keep posting.
Jeanamo815, December 15, 2018 9:56am EST
Well said, Beth!
Your comments for DeeJee are a perfect example of how we can help and support each other in this forum. Thank you for always sharing your insightful posts. I am sure it helps a lot of people....along with DeeJay.... to realize that they are not "alone" and that we share a lot of the same feelings and concerns on our "a-fib journey".
Thank you for your comments and wishing you the best,
(My A-fib Experience Community Leader)
FlSrLady35, January 25, 2019 9:35pm EST
I can partially relate to your AFib situation. I'm 83 and never knew I had AFib until last week. Doctor said I've had it for a long time and have even had several strokes. I've always been a high-energy person and take things in stride but this knocked me for a loop emotionally. I've been divorced for many years and live alone. I still work part time doing secretarial work from home via email. (My own secretarial service going on 21 years.)
I too have high blood pressure and have been on HCTZ and Carvedilol (a beta blocker) for years. Mom & grandma both had high BP and died from strokes. Mom was 85 and grandma was 80. Both had fibrillation so I should have been more aware. I also have hyperthyroid. I don't drink and never smoked. I do know that anxiety and stress can exaserbate high blood pressure and AFib among other issues. I thank God every day for my wonderful son and daughter and other supportive family and friends so that hasn't been an issue for me... until this news.
I was also diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease - Stage 3 which I also did NOT know I had. I've since found out that AFib and Kidney Disease are related. Each one makes the other worse.
This came as a total shock. Next week I will be fitted with a Holter Heart Monitor to wear at home for 24 hours to time the Afib events and determine the type of Afib I have. When I go back the next day, they will do an Echocardiogram to see how much damage has been done to my heart. I'm trying not to think about it, but it's hard not to. The cardiovascular doctor I go to put me on Eliquis twice a day. I've been partly blaming my symptoms of feeling weak, tired, kinda dizzy at times and just not feeling good on the Methotrexate I take for my Advanced Vulgaris Plaque Psoriais. I've also been blaming the weather and my age. Never occurred to me it might be my heart, but my primary care doctor should have. ('Nother story.)
I too wonder if there are medications to control the fribrillation. I may be 83, but I'm not ready to go yet! LOL Seriously, I'm sure everyone feels the same.
I have monitored my BP every now and then with an Ohmron monitor ever since I found out I had high BP about 35 years ago. I just found out the monitor also monitors fibrillation. It never occurred to me to even think about it. You can bet I'm monitoring it now.
I'm glad I found this forum and see that I'm not the only one who felt scared, anxious and apprehensive when they first found out they had AFib. I'll be following your post to read the replies you receive with answers to the same questions I have. I read the response from Jean. Very helpful.
Hang in there....:-)