Obesity as a cause of AF.

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My cardiologist believes obesity and alcohol are the main causes of AF. I have cut back a great deal on alcohol, but due to knee surgery and arthritis have found it impossible to do any weightbearing exercise. Has anyone lost weight and found their af greatly reduced or basically stopped?

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  • Posted

    How obese are and how much do you now drink?
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    • Posted

      Like any woman l dont want to tell you my weight!! Lol. I will say that l need to loose a fair bit. I have dropped from two large glasses of wine a day to one or two a week.
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    • Posted

      If you need stapling you must be quite big. I had an ex neighbour who was immense and went on a very strict diet and she now looks unbelieveable. It can be done.

      I always though Australians were fit, slim and health concious until I went there. Until then I thought that Americans were the fattest. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Robyn I have always had a weight problem and have lost just over two stone and hope to lose  more within the next few months,my cardiolgist has never referred to my obesity and the weight loss,so far has made little if any difference to my AF,also as  I watch my weight I have also reduced my intake of alchol and again this has had no impact in my AF.
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  • Posted

    Yes, was cardioverted three times in six weeks earlier this year. Had an ablation in April. Was referred to an Electrophysiologist who put the hard word on me and said I needed to get under 90 kg. Was 104kg, am now 89. Still have a couple of kg to to that BMI of 25.

    Has been 'smooth sailing' since the ablation (and dropping the weight of course). Am almost completely med-free (taking just 2mg of perindopril a day). Have been told that I can stop taking the perindopril completely when I get down to 87kg (good incentive).

    Its a bit of a no brainer when you think about it. The countries with the growing AF burdens are the ones that have a population that is getting fatter!

    Got to give yourself the best possible chance of being AF free and address all the addressable risk factors(you can't do much about genetic predisposition!)

    My AF was most likely a combination of genetics, obesity, severe sleep apnoea, and a little bit of smoking. And ongoing moderate drinking(with occasional 'big nights'-which would've made my sleep apnoea even worse) was probably what brought my AF to the fore I suspect.

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    • Posted

      Will never really know for sure as I've addressed multiple risk factors at the same time.'social smoking' severe sleep apnoea, lost the excess weight, excersize regularly, keep to less than three standard drinks per week(well, most weeks!- not drinking is the hardest one for me!), and of course had an ablation back in April.

      I am fairly convinced that the cumulative effect of 'moderate drinking over the Xmas/new year period was responsible for me jumping out of rhythm back in early Jan. this year.(which then led to me going into AF two more times in the following six weeks), which then led me to having the ablation.

      If you're about to start as a nurse educator Robyn, I'd like to know you think about Dr John M's interview with Prash Sanders on AF. It's on the Medscape website and will come up if you google "Legacy PI throws down the gauntlet to US physicians". I think it will answer a lot of the questions that you are asking.

      Losing weight and not drinking is hard, REALLY HARD! But my kids are 11&13, leaving them without a dad would be even harder, so had to make the changes.

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    • Posted

      Well done for doing all the lifestyle changes. Yes its very hard. My triggers for af are preservatives and most alcoholic drinks have them. I found some drops which neutralised them and found for quite awhile l didnt get af from alcohol. Then a month or so ago l started going into af after drinking for an hour or so so then l decided to really had to cut my intake down. Im still having intermittent af so who knows what all the factors are. Its very frustrating. Support from other people with the same condition helps you get through the hard times. Thankyou.
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  • Posted

    Good on ya, Robyn for the water exercise. Total bummer about being unable to stand. I don't think there is a nurse's job anywhere that does not require standing. I Hope things lighten up for you.

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  • Posted

    Where are you as your cardiologist is off the main track here? I was over weight - obese but several cardiologists did tell me not to beat myself up about it. It did not cause the AF! London Teaching Hospitals by the way.  

    Alcohol can be a trigger as it was in my brother's AF  but it never was for me. But as a cause? Being Obese and drinking too much of a trigger substance (we're all different in our triggers of AF episodes) is lkely to make AF more difficult to cope with mentally and physically. Change your cardiologist!

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    • Posted

      There's no 'one size fits all' approach to AF as people develop AF for different reasons. Most people on this forum are aware of what all these reasons/risk factors are so don't want to go listing them all again.

      And then sometimes, there are people who just develop AF despite not having any risk factors at all!

      But one thing is undeniable, there is plenty of scientific data that shows a strong link between  weight and AF.

      If I was to generalise based on what I've experienced and read about AF, I say that I think more often than not, AF is caused by a 'perfect storm' of events/risk factors. 

      What I mean by this is that I think it's generally An occurrence of several risk factors that tends to bring AF to the fore.

      For me it was genetic pre-disposition(my 84 yo mother has lived in over ant AF for the last 15 years), weight-I was almost 20kgs overweight, I smoked a bit (5-10/week), lack of sleep-about 5hrs/night, (also turned out that I had severe sleep apnoea as well), alcohol- 4-6 standard drinks several times a week(and would regularly exceed this on weekends if social activities were happening-dinner with friends etc,). I would also have occasional 'huge nights' on the booze- parties etc.(a handful of times a year). I would have 6-8 coffees a day.

      And of course, getting older - all that lifestyle stuff is gonna catch up with you at some point!

      The last 'huge night' was when I first developed permanent AF two years ago, I think that night was the 'straw that broke the camel's back', for me(looking back I suspect that I was having bouts of paroxysmal AF- possibly for years, but didn't think much of it).

      Anyway, time will tell how successful having an ablation and addressing all my risk factors will be as I'm only 7 months post ablation.

      But being overweight will definitely NOT help you to stay free of AF.

      Will losing the weight improve your chances of being AF free? YES, and so will addressing any other risk that you may have.

      Lifestyle changes are really bloody hard, but it's better than being in AF and having to be regularly cardioverted and taking lots of horrible meds!

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    • Posted

      You have explained this so well. I agree with all you have said. I hope others will benefit from your wise words. Also I hope that you keep well and continue to post such wise and encouraging words. Thank you, take care.
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    • Posted

      It's interesting to note how many people who suffer AF mention pushing their bodies with diet and alchohol.       Mine didn't happen like that it can often occur spontaneously when I am sat still although also often at night when it wakes me up.     I do believe in another way my body is fighting its own perfect storm  - I have lots of pain and problems in body for which no known logical cause or one which is easily understood.    I do think there is a genetic predisposition with it as my brother also suffers.    I am overweight he is not.   He has different drugs to me for his AF and no  obvious side effects I have a lot of side effects.  We do live in different parts of country so different specialists which is likely to be reason for different drugs.   Moderation in all things and a varied diet will I am sure help however it does appear to me once AF starts it is a case of trying to control it or keep a lid on it so to speak.    I'm not getting the impression that once someone has had it  - it goes away so every little step we take to keep our lives on an even keel is useful.     I've made all the lifestyle changes possible however it hasn't helped the condition.    I'd love to get off the drugs flecanide and apixaban and bioprolol however I am clear the flecanide dose I am taking is just about keeping me on that even keel and I even had a suprise last weekend when I had to stop the apixaban for an operation  - boy did my body feel heavy and weird.   I'm now back on them and feeling more normal   - that was a suprise!    The best suprise was my AF behaved during the operation  (not heart related) 

      Off to see the specialist at the end of the month and hope he can come up with a better solution to ablation.   I've never been right since the last one. 

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    • Posted

      If you eventually decide on an ablation, do your homework and make sure you get a highly skilled Electrophysiologist with good stats. Some people are much better at it than others.

      The Electrophysiologist that did mine has a success rate of 87% at the five year mark (provided all risk factors are addressed-that includes no more than three standard drinks per week).

      Failure to do the above results in less than 20% at the five year mark (and that's in the hands of a very skilled practitioner!) .

      so I definitely agree with you Kate, it is all about maintaining an even keel and crossing your fingers and hoping for some plain sailing!

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    • Posted

      simon56380 - are you UK based?  I wondered how you check the stats out. 

      I have a vague recollection re my first ablation that I was told rather gleefully (!) there was an approx 60% successs rate.  That was for the flutter op as opposed to AF but I went into AF during the operation.   I got the impression at time this wasn't specific to surgeon but overall.  I didn't look into it further at the time and I guess hoped I might be in the 60%.  

      Whilst I did come of the drugs after that I was still quite unwell and just under a year later after a simple dye test scan I then ended up with AF again.   At that point in hospital after being cardioverted chemically (amiodarone) I as put back on drugs but different batch to before.  Now apixaban, flecanide, bisoprolol.     Since them I daily deal with threats but in 2 years have possibly had  about 14 actual events most of which I have self managed with pop a pill.        Anyway I will ask when I see the consultant what his success rates are as well as alternatives.   

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate, I'm in Adelaide, South Australia.

      I have private health cover so I'm able to choose my specialist.

      I guess I'm fortunate enough to be reasonably well connected to people in the medical industry here.

      I have a brother who's an A&E consultant, two sisters who are nurses a friend who's sister is a cardiologist, and a couple of other 'friend of a friend' type connections.

      I was also under the care of the original cardiologist that treated me when I was intially taken to hospital in an ambulance with a tachycardia induced cardiomyopathy(and AF) two years ago. (his advice was also very valuable)

      Anyway, after needing cardioverting three times in six weeks earlier this year, my original treating cardiologist suggested that it may be time to consult with an Electrophysiologist to see an ablation would be a suitable course action for me.

      All my enquiries yielded two or three Electrophysiologist names. I did some google stalking/ background research on them to get a bit of a 'feel' for what they were doing in the AF field. All this led to me choosing to be rffered to my current Electrophysiologist. My sources claim that he is quite 'pro intervention' and I was told that I was lucky I didn't go straight to him when I first came down with heart failure as he'd quite likely wouldve wanted to put a defibrillator in me ( because at the time I had en ejection fraction of only 25% - but now have an EF of 60%).

      But my sources also said that if I needed an ablation that he was the one to see.

      I also did a lot of 'Doctor shopping' five years ago when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

      The thing is, some Doctors are considerably better than their colleagues at what they do, and you want the best person possible right? Who wouldn't ?

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