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Hello, I am a 26 year old male who was recently diagnosed with Afib.
I have been struggling with alcoholism for a few years as a way to deal with my mental health, and i was doing well on staying sober for several months before a close relative passed away from a medication overdose. Between the grief and the frustration of the COVID pandemic, i relapsed hard, and within a month, i was binge drinking regularly.
One evening, I drank especially heavy, an entire bottle of liquor in less than 2 hours. Over the next two days, I kept having palpitations and chest discomfort, and shrugged it off as a hangover. Haven't drank a drop since, and may never again.
By the third day, they were so constant and intense and the anxiety just amplified things, so I went to the ER to get checked out. By then, the symptoms subsided and they couldn't find anything. Later, after a follow-up with a cardiologist, i wore a heart monitor for two days and they found I had episodes of Afib.
Since then, I’ve struggled with more anxiety and depression to the point where I’ve started end of life planning, and I’ve since made better choices with my lifestyle, like cutting out caffeine and alcohol entirely, and minimizing sugar, sodium, and carbonation, as well as eating healthier in general and walking on a daily basis.
At my recent follow-up, the doctor confirmed the prognosis and prescribed me Metoprolol 25mg and an 81mg aspirin regimen. I still have persistent palpitations, near-constant mild chest discomfort, strange aches/sensations in my arms and hands, lightheadedness, and occasional numbness in my face but overall, the symptoms have improved slightly.
My doctor still wants to run a stress test at some point and I’m inquiring about counseling for the stress and anxiety.
I know I cant be the only person to go through this, but how do you cope with it? The anxiety of a looming threat is always gnawing at me and I’m honestly scared.
dsavoie1953, August 7, 2020 12:23am EST
https://www.stopafib.org/why.cfm Study this site.
dsavoie1953, August 7, 2020 12:30am EST
Based on my two year experience get a baseline ECG and ECHO. Make sure you get a CT Calcium Score and Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) Test of your heart after you do a Treadmill Echo. Treadmill Echo could be inconclusive known as AFIB RVR because your in AFIB. Once you do that the cardiologist will know more about inside and outside your heart.
Morwenna, August 7, 2020 8:27am EST
Anxiety is very common ,especially when newly diagnosed. Please follow through with getting help for your anxiety and increasing depression. There is hope ,but often we all need help with this, when feeling overwhelmed ,helpless, and hopeless. You know that alcohol is a trigger for A-fib ,and there are also triggers for alcoholism. Increasing depressed mood and stress can be some , among others. Joining a good support group such as AA can be really helpful. There are also excellent in patient and day hospital programs available,.particularly if relapsing is frequent. Let your cardiologist know about the physical symptoms you describe .The stress test is a good idea, You are not the only person who has gone through this and feeling anxious and scared is common among many of us.All the changes you have made are very positive ones . Best of luck to you and always reach out for support when you need it . You are not alone.
dsavoie1953, August 7, 2020 12:09pm EST
Get a Kardia Sensor Amazon $99. Track your AFIB and Blood Pressure Qardio $99 Amazon also. Cardiologist will want to know.
Get on a aniexty Rx for a few months 2-3 months just to take the edge off.
Get on a DASH or Paleolitic Diet (Caveman) - STOP EATING PROCESS FOODS. No Soda's No Pizza's If it was manufactured DO NOT EAT IT!
Two beers kicked my Paxoyxmal AFIB ... so stay away from alcohol. Howvever there is a root cause for your AFIB. Only the Cardoiolisgist and Electrophysioloigist can determine.
My Cardiac Ablation was a success Monday August 3rd because I made dame sure I had a good baseline and the best Card/EP that believe in Quality of Service.
You will now need a plumber (Cardo) and electrian (EP) moving forward.
I am a degreed electrical engineer with aerospace and RF engineering experience. So ... DO NOT WORRY - Medical Technology has advanced ... you just need to find good doctors. Keep me posted.
Study StopAFIB.org and attend the conference in my hometown of Dallas this October.
I have a 2 year case with AFIB and went to the best hospital in Dallas ... however that does not equate to the best doctor in Dallas. Keep looking for a doctor that will give you the Quality of Service you deserve.
Keep us posted.
cgmccabe, August 7, 2020 6:08pm EST
Our stories aren't much different. It took going into Flecanide to get my AFib under control. I was persistent but you are paroxysimal it seems. I'm surprised you're not on antiryrhmic. Alcohol is an irritant. You gotta find a way back to sober.
MellanieSAF, August 8, 2020 12:36pm EST
Thanks for the kind words about StopAfib.org, and mention of the conference.
The conference will be in October, but due to this virus, it will be virtual this year rather than in Dallas. I've been head-down the past 10 days getting all the details of the conference faculty and agenda worked out (and finishing the website) as well as doing the webinar on Thursday with Dr. Mittal on when it's safe to have an ablation due to COVID-19. We will be officially announcing conference details next week to those on our newsletter list.
I hate that we had to go virtual because I love the in-person conference, but one benefit (yes, my mom raised me as a Pollyanna) is that we have some international rockstars presenting whom we have never been able to have on our faculty (because we couldn't afford international airfare). One is the preeminent expert on afib stroke prevention and creator of the CHA2DS2-VASc scoring system (what your doctor uses to determine your stroke risk). And, there is a lot of interest in the patient community, and here on the forum, about two new non-invasive ablation procedures - pulsed field ablation and radioablation - and we have the innovators of those techniques presenting. And, I'm on cloud nine - after many hours of back and forth (since January) and a very detailed letter of invitation, the FDA has just said yes. They have approved our request for the presenter we requested to talk about the device and drug approvals processes (we'll share that info soon).
So, the conference won't just be in Dallas - it will be everywhere this year and more will be able to attend (that is another bright spot in my glass-half-full-world).
dsavoie1953, August 9, 2020 9:41am EST
Good stuff - thank you for the heads up - I look forward to the update.
Texas Cardiac Arrthyma Dr Sanchez MD EP performed my Ablation this past Monday August 3 rd in Dallas and I am back to Normal sinus rhythm and blood pressure. Had an appointment with Dr. Natale but chose Dr Sanchez being in local.
Just diagnosed with Sleep Apnea prior to MPI Stress Test chose to perform Ablation. I have good data and baseline for my 2-year case and timeline.
MellanieSAF, August 9, 2020 11:03am EST
Thanks for the info. With Dr. Sanchez being one of Dr. Natale's trusted colleagues, that was a pretty good bet for success.
However, I didn't realize that Dr. Sanchez was doing ablations in Dallas now. It used to be just Austin and, I believe, occassionally at Hillcrest in Waco. Where in Dallas is he doing procedures?
dsavoie1953, August 9, 2020 11:17am EST
Medical City Heartplace and Spine off 75 and Forest Lane
MellanieSAF, August 9, 2020 11:25am EST
Thanks. That's interesting. So, he is working with Dr. Jodie Hurwitz then. I see that both he and Dr. Horton are practicing at Medical City, as an adjunct to Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia. I learn something new every day. It's good to know since I have not seen Dr. Hurwitz this year because the medical conferences have all gone virtual. I miss the hallway conversations that let me catch up on what is new with the doctors.