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Paroxysmal Afib Diagnosis, symptoms \ issues between epidsodes
Hello everyone! I am a 40 year old male, fairly active, and diagnosed with Paroxysmal AFib late September 2019. For the benefit of those who ask about Apple Watch effectiveness, I wasn't feeling well for ~2 days and my Apple Watch 3 alerted me I was in AFib (Heart monitoring was not a reason I bought the watch). A trip to the Dr. and an EKG confirmed I was in AFib. I exited AFib on my own after 4 days, before a Cardioversion was scheduled. Since then I had a 2nd episode, which lasted 3 days and I was able to end with Exercise after reading this article (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200212193472522). [Note, I am not a Dr. or endorsing the article, sharing my experience. Also not a lawyer despite the disclaimer :-) ]
I started seeing a cardiologist, who gave the advice that my risk factors are low and only prescribed daily baby aspirin to reduce stroke risk if I go into AFib. I have had an Echo (Normal) and Stress Test (results have not been shared yet). I have stopped drinking caffeine and eliminated alcohol (with a few exceptions here and there).
My question is how everyone feels when they are not in AFib? I personally feel "off" still. I don't know a better way to explain it. I feel like my heart rate rises more than it should with simple activity. At times I feel like my heart beat is off, my chest feels heavy (not chest pain), etc. I am going to follow up with my Cardiologist (I actually had another who specialized is Electrical Cardiology recommended that I might see as well), however I am wondering if others feel the same way?
I am a rather positive person, in a high stress job, but I typically do not feel stressed. I haven't ruled out the mental aspect of having the diagnosis and now feeling off. I still run 2 - 3 times a week and have not struggled at all with exercise.
Anyway, I appreciate the input if others feel "off" even when not in an AFib Episode.
Joy61, November 12, 2019 7:37pm EST
Thank you for your post and the article.
pgrove1, November 13, 2019 9:01am EST
I'm a 34 yo male recently diagnosed in June of 2019. I have shorter episodes than you (typically 3-5 minutes but had one episode that lasted 5 hours) but understand what you mean about feeling "off" even when I'm not necessarily in afib. I feel like I have more pronounced increases and decreases in rate when just doing simple deep breathing exercises now and that doesn't include just regular activities and exercise. So far, I've had an the normal work up with nothing abnormal found (ECHO, ECG, blood work, etc.) and I did an event monitor for 14 days which confirmed the afib (I had one short 3 minute episode in those 2 weeks).
I wonder how much of the feeling off for me personally is related to anxiety about the condition. I feel pretty terrible when I'm in afib and I spend a significant portion of my day worrying about when the next episode will occur. Almost like I'm in an increased adrenaline state for most of the day which may contribute to some of the heart rate changes I'm noticing. Not sure if it's the same for you. I never would have guessed prior to my afib diagnosis that I would ever struggle with anxiety (super relaxed and laid back previously) but now I definitely have health related anxiety and it definitely plays a part I think.
I hope you find some successful treatment or cure for your afib. I'm currently being started on medications as I wasn't quite ready to take the ablation step yet. If these medications don't work, I'll probably be headed down the path toward ablation sooner rather than later.
jvanslycke, November 13, 2019 4:02pm EST
Thanks for the feedback! I wonder if, like you, I go in and out more often than I think. I do not think I have anxiety over the diagnosis, but like I said in the original post, I am not ruling anxiety or mental aspect out of how I feel when no in AFib. I did run the ecg on my watch one time when I felt a rapid heart rate and it showed AFib, I ran the ECG again 10 minutes later when I felt better and it was normal again. However, while the watch provided the original alert, I don't put 100% trust in the single channel test.
Ablation wasn't mentioned as an option for me yet, however I need to follow up with my cardiologist. Thanks again for the reply, you are younger than me, but I keep telling my wife that I won't accept that I have to feel like this and not enjoy a cold beer for the rest of my life.