Newly diagnosed with A Fib and worried!

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Hi all. I went to the doc a few days ago with palpitations and anxiety attacks that had started waking me through the night over a few days. She gave me propranalol and i had an ECG. Bloods came back normal apart from hormones which said i was i. Menopause & possible cause of palpitations. ECG showed minor A Fib. Doc said she needed clarification from cardiologist so been waiting to hear back & feeling very anxious. Also light headed and unsteady on feet which is hopefully the change in BP from betablockers. History...increasing anxiety for 18 mths (menopause?) as well as chronic digestive (gas) issue for a cple yrs (ibs? All tests negative), palpitations sporadic over 2 years coinciding with excess gas, leading to panic attacks. Over Xmas, more stomach upset due to eating richer foods...panic attacks and 'palpitations' at night (waking me up many times), then diagnosis of minor A Fib. Any support would be much appreciated, thank you.

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    Most things have already been said but  I concur with a lot of them because although with AF 'one size does not fit all'  there is a lot of similarities.   I would also recommend the Fodmap diet - I only started it before Xmas and it has already helped a lot.     I sleep on my back  - I cannot sleep on my right fullstop and can go on my left but body says - get on your back.   I also started using a wedge cushion before Xmas .... that seems to help but it not perfect because I tend to slide down it but as I say there are some improvements so I am trying to get used to it.        You say you are lightheaded - maybe the dose is a bit high and you could be cut down a bit - something for you to work out in time.   You seem concerned about not being on blood thinners but if you are light headed on BP tablets and the doctor hasn't precribed them yet then you are possibly saving yourselves side effects from them.    If you need them then you will have to suffere side effects but if you don't them that will also help you.    You mention anxiety but I am not sure what is causing your anxiety it sounds pre AF anxiety or maybe you mean it is also unconscious fears ......but  if this is done to the menapause as you suggest then it will settle in time as you go through it.    Once you get on blood thinners and other tabs you are unlikely to come off them so radically change your diet and do everything you can to calm your system whilst you go through this horrilbe but hopefull temporary stage.   I'm afraid eating rich food is a trigger if you read the posts so to keep your body calm and AF free it must be avoided.   The least tablets you have to take the better unless of course they become necessary.    Good Luck 

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    • Posted

      Being on AF tablets also causes brain freeze and spellings mistakes to anyone reading the above!!    That's why if possible avoid but if necessary take graciously

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    • Posted

      Haha thanks for your supportive words Kate. Yes, the anxiety, palpitations, panic attacks was now and then over the past 2 yrs, bevoming more frequent over the past year and yes i'm now a year clear of periods. I was more anxious over xmas but also more bloated due to xmas foods (no alcohol) and started waking up many times with panic attacks. Thats why I went to docs and was told ECG showed AFib. I had ECG last april and a year before due to palps but ECGs were both normal then.

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    • Posted

      I really think Fodmap diet will help you - I only knew about it from this site before Xmas and its made such a difference.    Because my diet is restricted anyway no wheat - gluten - eggs and a few other things  - all I had to cut out was onions, mushrooms, apples, pears and butternut squash and it has helped.     My body is weird I really do think I can do certain things but it seems to go into panic mode without me feeling its a panic.      My favourite times for getting AF  is in the middle of night or after eating .... especially for some reason after hospital appoitnments when I come home and feel relaxed.     I find self monitoring my pulse when I feel unwell really helpful.  The readings often tell me although I fele terrible the BP and pulse are fine.     When I go into AF I can also monitor that the pulse is coming down and I am ok too. 
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    • Posted

      I'll try the fodmap thanks...my diets been quite limited for a while now and im often guilty of not eating often enough for fear of bloating etc. i have no alcohol or caffeine, no chocolate and try to cut out sugar and bread where possible, potato can set me off but then again my mums sunday dinner seems to settle me down! I try to not eat past about 5pm but over xmas i was eating snacks or biscuits in the evening, then suffering!

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    • Posted

      HiJulir I also bought a filter jug and drink lots of water now I believe this helps too, I cut out alcohol and caffeine 3 years ago anyway and my triggers are alcohol, chocolate and over eating at all 😏

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    • Posted

      You sound so much like me.    I find little and often suits me well and I need some protein at every meal esp breakfast.   I thought potatoes were a problem but since following fodmap I am better with potatoes.    AF seems to be a funny one because eating can trigger it but also when not feeling well I settle after eating and rally.    Also agree not eating after 6pm with me is better but then its in the evening I want to pick!    I get the impression that AF is confusing because it triggers when we do 'something' but its a combination of things up to that fault that set the electrics going haywire.    So the eating seems to trigger it but it just 'the hair that broke the camels back'     All we can do is try and help our bodies out with being careful how we look after it I guess.   I'm still trying to work out how I can get rid of the unconscious stress though!    Anyway I'm off now to a hospital appoitnment for a different part of the wondrous body. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Bea, the caffeine alcohol n choc n cigarettes all disappeared a long time ago but bread cakes sweets all trigger bloating & palps. I drink decaf tea or chamomile to calm me but do need more water i reckon. Im gonna see a nutritionist cos im avoiding so many things i wonder if im getting enough goodness!

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    • Posted

      Hi Julie my cardiologist did agree with the fodmap diet but I'm not sure wether it was to keep me positive but the gastrologist I had to see for my stomach problems agreed wholeheartedly with it after doing this diet my acid reflux as gone and the flare up they thought might be Chrones as cleared up and they are connect that's what causes the depression I think ( I may be wrong but...) I hope you keep well and hope you have been helped with the advise Julie x

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    • Posted

      So many people seem to have the digestive/reflux and AFib link. Even in the early days when i just thought it was anxiety palpitations, i always had chronic burping at same time! Now my stomachs always distended, its gassy with food or when empty, i have reflux which i never used to. OR maybe its the anxiety (menopause)causing the ibs and the palps?! Chicken and egg...but it makes sense to work on my anxiety and digestive issues and see if AFibs settle.
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  • Posted

    Thanks so much to all who have taken the time to offer advice, knowledge & support! I will work on diet, exercise and try and get on top of the anxiety whilst waiting for doc to say where we go from here. I'll update...in the meantime, thank you all and all good wishes for health & happiness in 2017 x

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  • Posted

    Hi Julie

    I too have been recently diagnosed though well past menopause. I have had 3 admissions to hospital and now they seem to have cracked the pills I should take. My worry is I can't sleep and wander aroung all night from room to room even taking amytriptiline has not helped. Has anyone else suffered from insomnia? Can this be attributed to the drugs especially bisoporol? I am now off it , but wonder how long side effects last having come off it.The lack of sleep gives me panic attacks, I believe thay are another side effect. Its very frightening I sympathise with you and hope it is sorted soon for you

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    • Posted

      Hi Wendy,

      It's 4am and so yes it is hard to sleep and stay asleep. I am only taking propranalol for the heartrate/ to avoid adrenaline based racing heart. When i started getting panuc attacks in the night I was hardly getting any sleep. At least on propanalol Im getting 3-4 hrs, waking up & getting back to sleep for another cple of hrs. OK when not working next day but need to go to work weds thurs and dont know if i'll cope on broken sleep! Also propranalol make me a bit light headed, but its only been a week. Like you, I find night time hardest. I live alone and wouldnt want to disturb friends n family at night and was given a lecture by parents for even THINKING of going to A& E the other day when I felt particularly weird! So its a bit of a lonely ordeal. Have you been given blood thinners? I've not as yet, been asked to wear a loop recorder on 20th, so more waiting, and i wonder if i should be on thinners as a precaution? Think i'll have a cup of decaf tea. Hope you've managed some sleep Wendy, keep in touch!

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    • Posted

      Julie - Since having AF my sleep pattern has been affected and I also now wake up in the night several times.   1am and 5am being the favourite times.    I wonder if it would help you to have your own BP/pulse monitor so that when you feel weird you are reassurred that the readings are ok.     I've not myself found that having AF you have the support you might be looking for therefore you need to find a bit of control for yourself.   Seeing the consultants if you have AF its a case of take the tablets they don't seem interested in whether you are feeling unwell just that the AF is controlled.    Because of that I  have had to find my own ways of trying to be in control (although truth is AF controls my life) so the diet and sleeping propped up, being careful what you eat in evenings etc all important but in addition I feel weird with or without AF happening - I can hardly tell the difference between how I feel 24/7 to when I get AF.   I know when I get AF because I feel it 'flip' and then I feel the faster beats.     Having the BP/pulse monitor is a big re-assurance to me that I am NOT in AF when sometimes the symptoms make me think I am.    it's another option for you.    Weirdly for me being on my own dosn't faze me - I acutally think its a bonus as no one else can do anything  for me.     I realise you are quite overwhelmed at the moment and I do feel for you.       The monitor also guides me when I am in AF my heart beats go to about 194 and I then have to pop a pill and if the beats don't reduce after a couple of hours I go to A&E.   You mention that the GP picked up minor AF - not quite sure what that means but from what you said originally this hopefully will be something you can work with your GP about to calm your anxiety and fingers crossed it is temporary and it all will ease off after menopause.    If blood thinners are necessary they will give them to you but blood thinners won't stop you waking up at night.   As well as all the other advise you have been given because you say you are anxious see what the GP can help in respect of CBT and also consider EFT which is a technique you can use in the moment and really works - lots of stuff on Youtube about eft.   it works. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate thanks for your input. I keep mentioning bloodthinners because I inderstand there's a higher stroke risk with AF and already have an elevated risk being a migraine and aura sufferer. My doc told me she wasnt sure what to do about my ecg showing minor AFib last week, but got a nurse to ring me yesterday to book me in on 20th for a loop monitor. I have a heartrate monitor that mum gave me years back and I am using it before i take a betablocker to check it's not TOO low as the doc said take the propranalol either 3 x a day or when i feel i need it. When i just thought it was panic attacks and palpitations i was told off for self checking BP etc, but yeh, now Im on BBs it's probably a good idea! I checked not long ago and it was 120/67 72bpm, seems ok yet i feel lightheaded, a bit 'out of it', i wonder if its the betablockers? Do you think your meds make you feel weird rather than the AFib itself? Thank you Kate!

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    • Posted

      Also Kate, yes I will ask for CBT..i did a few months ago when it seemed to be panic attacks and palps but just got 5 x 20 minute lets talk phone sessions which just dealt with breathing and hardly touched on cbt.
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    • Posted

      It's probably a bit of a postcode lottery what you get but the way the NHS works is that you will have to push for it and when you feel unwell that is not easy.    I've not done CBT myself  as have worked on myself in other ways.  CBT as I understand it looks at the way we think about situations which in turn can affect the way we behave  - they teach you to manage your responses.  A good one for middle of night maybe?    Because you talk about feeling anxious I thought it might help you.    I don't seem to feel anxious although I admist my body does give similar responses.      EFT is something different it can help you shift those feelings you are feeling.     So CBT is a good foundation to understand why you feel a certain way and EFT will shift the feeling.   EFT is something you could do on your own but better with a good practitioner. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Wendy I'm the same I wander round doing things when I'm awake to distract myself from thinking about it and the relive I feel when it's time to get up and I haven't gone into afib I was diagnosed 2 year ago and have had 4 episodes I know off I ring the ambulance when I'm scared and have been taken to hospital each time as it was 180/200 bpm , my normal heart rate with 1.5 bisoporol is 47/51 ish so when it goes up I feel it , during the night is when iv had them in bed while resting and comfortable they wake me up , I went through a stage were I used to be afraid to go to bed and slept ( laid awake really) on sofa just in case I associated my bed as a trigger , I have been given Flecadine as a pill in my pocket but darnt use it as it can slow your heart down and with mine being so slow to start it scares me, I'm going to the main heart hospital in my area 22nd to see a cardiologist about Abilation but have heard not so good things about it and as I have a slow heart rate and flutters all the time I don't want to make it worse, not sure if mines mostly anxiety but it runs my life now , I'm on the fodmap diet ( try to stick to it ) and felt better but that dread is still there all the time nearly 😨

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    • Posted

      Even looking at it wrote down upsets me I have a heat condition iv had all my life 2 leaking valves never ever worried me , but this as taken the life out of me I try so hard to be positive but sometimes I just feel so lost now and very afraid if I told the truth I have lost 2 babies to heart valve problems and 2 grandchildren to same thing they got to 1yr and 9/1/2 month after surgery so this is such a big deal to me now at 69 years old , sorry for the long Moan ppl 😐

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    • Posted

      This is complicated.   I feel weird anway with or without AF  (but then you can argue my body was trying to cope with 'something' and AF was the result)     By feel weird I mean cold and shaky and internal tremor mainly.   Another way of putting it is my body is super senstive and I feel a lot of sensation that others wouldn't.      When I add the AF meds to that then they seem to magnify the effects of that  (blood thinner, biso, flecanide)  So now I feel legless and less able to get out and about.      When I get the AF it magnifies everything again and then having to take extra pop a pill will acutally give me pain in chest (flecanide) but will also settle the AF.     Chicken and egg.       I just know I am better in 'myself' physcially not on al the meds but I also know that the meds are controlling the AF most of the time.      They don't know what causes AF and for all of us it may be different but there are certain factors that seem to be mentioned quite a bit.      It is a bit of a minefield if you have the problem but with you we are still hoping that this is a temporary blip caused by menopause so if you can calm your system in non drug like ways that is all to the better in my humber non consultant way.    Even if not temporary and you have to put up with it  - still good advise.     I am having a 2nd  ablation next week so IF I come off the drugs because of that I may have an even better of idea of what was causing what symptoms however I already know having had the first ablation that having the op just attempted to stop my heart going into  AF it didn't stop me feeling horrible 24/7.      What fun life is  but it is what it is!    

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kate, I will try for both, i think theres quite a wait though and will look up the EFT today. Id like to pick myself up and get out to the shops but just feel weird light headed n weak atm, but hope its just getting used to betablockers and that it'll pass and i'll be able to start doing normal things again...

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    • Posted

      bea28340 - the feelings you have in the night - I just wanted to say I understand having had similar experience.    I'm a bit confused though about you not taking - pop a pill.   I think I understand that your resting heart rate is 47/51 but what is is when you wake up with an episode of AF and call an ambulance?     Granted in AF you can get varying readings but with mine I get pulse of 194 etc and know its in AF and by keeping an eye on the reducing number I can tell whether I need to call ambulance or not  - they advise me if not down after 2 hours.   I've had plenty of practise about 18 episodes in 2 years and only 4 times needed to go to A&E.    It's clear from what everyone is putting that AF seems to control us  - my self monitoring helps me feel a bit in control and reassured. 

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    • Posted

      No Julie not at all I know I have health anxiety and today it's quite bad I'm hoping it's not a sign of a afib episode as iv noticed after having one I have a feeling of wellbeing it's strange how this happens, when I read what iv wrote I sound like a crazy woman but it's all true and how I feel but today I have weird feeling like waves going through my body I'm hoping it's just anxiety , iv just tried the EFT tapping but still kept feeling the waves , I'm so sorry to waffle on like this , thank you for listening Julie xxx

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    • Posted

      I wish you lots of luck for next week's ablation, Kate. How long have you been putting up with this? Yes I can hope mine may pass maybe if i can get my stomach and anxiety problems under control. 2 weeks of this is bad enough, I feel for everyone going through this long term.

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    • Posted

      there is a good book on amazon called eft in your pocket  - also lots on you tube.     I totally understand your feelings about shopping - I have to give up driving because of AF and even struggle getting the bus so have to get taxi's now otherwise everything delivered to door.    Sometimes when I am out I feel so terrible that I cannot believe I won't collapse in a heap but I have so far never collapsed and always got home.    It's only knowing that its never happened that gets me out there.   I have a feeling with you though your body is struggling with your current dose of tablets.     I am impressed though that your GP did get back to you that is a promising sign sometimes you have to chase to get answers but don't be afraid of pushing them for what you need. 

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    • Posted

      since 2011 -  and yet I only knew about the fodmap diet before Xmas 2016 and its already helping - got that from this site.    You are well ahead of me on getting good advise. 
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    • Posted

      My health anxiety make me think if I ignore it this time it might be the time it is serious once when ambulance men came I said it's slowing down now I can feel it ! They looked at each other and said we need you to go to hospital to be checked because ....... what they said made no sence to me I didn't understand but was so scared it started again 🙁

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    • Posted

      Bea it's OK you're not waffling! I also have health anxiety, panic attacks and like you say, it comes in waves through your body and since being on Betablockers i get waves of wooziness through my head as well as my body and that cold fear. Deep breaths, then a distraction. It's hard I know x

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    • Posted

      Thank you Julie I'm going to order the eft book now everything I do to help me cope with this makes me more in control, iv put of going to Leeds heart hospital 3 times now but will go this time to put my mind to rest , what's made it worse is two cardiologists giving different things one said enlarged heart etc the other said def not so a more advanced doctor may help 😊

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    • Posted

      I do think it's a lot of anxiety but have a app on my phone and even when I could feel my heart picking up speed it said no abnormalitys ? Yet ambulance men said afib 🤔 It's worrying I'm on warfarin to help but nothing makes me feel better today must just be a bad day x

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    • Posted

      Yes Bea, definitely see a cardiologist...once they know the cause they can treat it. I do understand your worry and fear of the unknown though, but we know the anticipation is often worse than the reality. I feel really out of it today too, hoping its just my body adjusting to the betablockers x
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    • Posted

      Bea you are in good company with these feelings  and it is very frustrating but stay strong  - get those heart consultants to sort out why differing opinions.    I even wonder if a letter might be better?    I don't find it at all easy going for consultations with AF problems  it is very much  - this is all we can do - take it or leave it.      And I have been to Leeds too but currently somewhere new and different.      It's a hard problem to have because although lots of people have it the effects they get are so varying.    It can be very debilitating but we don't get a lot of warmth and care do we.    Just remember you are not alone and others do understand.

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