Does Alcohol Put You At Risk for Atrial Fibrillation?

StopAfib.org - For Patients. By Patients - Stop Atrial Fibrillation

With the holidays getting started, you may wonder how drinking alcohol impacts the risk of atrial fibrillation.

Alcohol is considered a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but is any alcohol safe, and how much is too much?

A new study sheds some light on that for women, but those findings may still be too much. And other research indicating what is OK for men may put them at risk, too.

Learn more: Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

147 Responses to Does Alcohol Put You At Risk for Atrial Fibrillation?

  • howardcovitz says:

    Have had experience with alcohol as trigger but gluten seems to predispose me to a-fibs, as well. Others experiences. Howard Covitz

  • Steve Ingram says:

    Alcohol and Afib do NOT mix – I found out the hard way that even a few beers can be enough to cause a bought of Atrial Fibrillation. There ARE many triggers but alcohol is easy to control – JUST DON’T DRINK the stuff. One emergency room visit and a quick Cardioversion(ZAP!) and you’ll think again at that party and your Holiday Heart. I started my own Afib site just to vent about this pain in the XXX disorder.

    Take a look at: http://afibtreatment.com

  • March 16, 2009

    While at work, I just had this very unusual feeling in my chest. Just a funny feeling..kind of like a bubble machine. I knew the feeling was odd, but no pain so I just said to my colleagues “if you see me stretched out on the floor, get me some help.” They immediately got me a ride to the ER. In the ER they asked me if I had ever been told that I had an irregular heart beat. Answer was No. I was admitted to hospital with A-Fib diagnosis. It took 6 hours to convert me with medication. This was the first I have ever heard of A-Fib. I did tell them that I had self diagnosed PAT’s during sleep. No one seemed to care. When I went to my cardiologist for a follow-up after 24 hour hospital stay and echocardiogram, I mentioned that I had talked to my internist about a Holter monitor because of the rapid heartrate history that I had. That was 2 years ago. He (the internist) sent me to go get one but at the same time my husband received a cancer diagnosis and my time then went into curing him. No Holter. Forgot about it. Husband died last year and still I forgot about that monitor till this hospitalization for A-Fib. Now all of a sudden everything is starting to make sense to me. However, Dr.s just don’t seem to get it. I believe I have sleep apnea which leads to A-Fib. However, with my monitor (cardiologist OK’d it) I sent in 4 episodes(that’s all that fits on it) per night till I was afraid to even go to sleep. I slept sitting up in a chair and ditched the monitor. When I went to find out what the monitor revealed my cardiologist said every thing was normal….nothing wrong. However, my heart rate did go up on those occassions to 100 bpm. Not so bad but why from 65bpm to 100bpm at least 4 times per night. I told him I wanted a Sleep Study. He looked at me like I had 4 heads, but said he would mention it to my internist. I will be getting my sleep study within the next couple of weeks. I had just learned to live with light-headedness and ADD and everything else that goes with Sleep Apnea. Doctors don’t want a cause to be found for anything….they just want to treat a symptom with a drug. Thanks for listening. I hope I don’t have A-Fib at night but it sure feels like it. I did go to the ER another time and they said nothing was wrong. I fully believe Sleep apnea is the culprit…I mean no Oxygen to your brain dozens of time per night. I will let you know. Again, thank you for listening.

  • John Santangelo says:

    Brenda,

    I was very intrigued after reading your story since I too have experienced the same issues after suffering my first A-fib episode (at least the first one that was properly diagnosed). It happened during labor day 2008 weekend after a long day of golf, drinking too much coffee and having a couple of drinks at the pool. My A-fib episode was very stressful since my heart rate and blood pressure spiked and the whole thing (ride in ambulance etc.) was very traumatic. They got it under control after about 14 hours with Cardiazem and sent me home with the diagnosis of “holiday heart”, telling me that this was just a one time episode. About a month later I had my second episide while on a business trip and spent another night in the hospital. This is when my sleep problems began. I would wake in the middle of the night with heart palpitations, cold sweats etc. They put me on metropolol which exacerbated my sleep problems and made my heart palpitations even worse. Since then I have had about five or six A-Fib episodes. I too thought this was related to sleep apnea and had a sleep study done, but the results were negative. After switching my medication to Diltiazem my sleep improved a litttle but then got so bad that I was getting depressed with increased anxiety, whcih of course increased my risk of a-fib. It was not until my doctor prescribed remeron, which is an antidepressant that I was ablt to get better sleep. Now my doctor has prescribed to me a drug called Zoloft, which is a selective seratonin uptake inhibitor and almost immediately my sleep improved and coincidentally my afib episodes have also subsided. By the way, I also had a heart monitor put on me when my sleep problems occured and they were also negative. I personally believe that my Afib issues are related to stress and I have been doing a lot of things to change my life style that has been effective. I drink less coffee, do yoga, eat smaller meals, avoid alcohol and just try not to overdo things. I usually feel an episode comng on when I have done too much and/or do not get enough sleep.

    Having said all this, I definitely believe I am suscepitble to Afib and no matter what I do I can succumb to an episode. It is for this reason I am strongly considering a catheter ablation procedure.

    I hope you find relief no matter what your origine of afib. I can honestly say that not sleeping (i used to sleep upright too) is a very dibilitating problem and you are doing the right thing by doing a sleep study. i would also check into other treatments as I have done if you find that apnea is not the culprit.

    Regards,

    John

  • Chris says:

    I have had afib since 2000 due to a flu bug that attacked my heart and almost killed me. Luckily I recovered completely but I had some afib episodes…6 over 8 years. During that time I gave up caffeine but in my 30s I enjoyed beer with friends and wine with dinners. It never caused any problems and never caused afib, even when I went overboard. That is just me. Funny thing is that I had ablation in 2008 and they pierced my heart and almost killed me. It didn’t fix the afib and it actually comes once a month now. Yet alcohol, my decaf and exercise has yet to cause it. In fact it is when I’m not drinking and going to bed

  • Keith says:

    Diagnosed 2.5 years ago. Also have sleep apnea, but use C-Pap religiously. Have had difficult time getting it under control. Initially, tried 2 cardioversions…last only a few hours at best. Follow by 2 ablations. First only last a bout a month. Second one last 1 year with Tykosin treatment. Dr said alcohol in moderation wasn’t a factor, but I don’t buy it. Went off Tykosin good until July 09 had 3-4 drinks two days in a row and bam a-fib. Converted in 8 hours after a 300mg dose of Flecanide. Just went back into A-Fib Wednesday. Wife had major surgery, when I knew she was doing great had dinner and 2 drinks with some friends and I back in A-Fib. Flecanide hasn’t worked, so I’m going in to be zapped tomorrow. So, I think the alcohol, stress, and the sleep apnea all may play a roll. There may well be many other individual triggers that may exist.

  • Antonetta says:

    I too had A-fib for the first time 15 years ago. I am 55. At the time I thought it was palpitations and unfortunately had a TIA (stroke)…..since then I have been cartioiverted at least 5 times and had an ablation 4 years ago. I too am baffled at how this occurs?? I am very symptomatic and feel horrible when in A-fib. I drink but not often, maybe 1 or 2 a month…but when I do I may have 2 cosmos. This last episode I think was a combination. Drinking Iced coffee once a day, stress and fatigue. I got cardioverted and feel much better, but am on eggshells.

  • Susan says:

    I had my first A-fib attack, December, 2009. Since then, I have been in the hospital twice. According to my cardiologist, I have not had a heart attack as a result of my A-fib. After my first attack, I had all the tests, with the exception of the Holter. All came back negative. My cardiologist ordered sleep studies. I do have moderate to severe sleep apnea and I have been using C-Pap since. My pills have given me problems, side-affects, and are constantly changing. I agree with several of the previous comments, the doctors seem to want to add pills or change pills. They do not offer any other alternative. I have checked on-line and found that Deaconness Hospital in Cincinnati performs the mini-maze which has been highly successful. I am going to forward all my records to them to see if I am a candidate for the procedure. The hospital my cardiologist is affiliated with is having a seminar in November on the Arterial Clamp procedure, which I have already reserved a spot. I am one that has never taken pills.

    I’m 70 and very active. I live in the country on 6 acres and do all the manual labor as my husband has undergone three open heart surgeries. I want to be cured, if possible, so I can travel outside the state. I rarely have any warning before an attack. I know when I am out of rhythm but lately, it has not warranted a trip to the hospital. Unless I get over 100 bpm, the doctor told me no need to go to the ER. I am on warfarin and want off blood thinners.

    Thanks to STOP A-FIB, I have been able to educate myself about A-fib. My elder sister also has A-Fib and has for years. I have two younger sisters, neither of whom have A-Fib

    I have learned no one takes better care of your health than you do, The patient has to do all the work and the research. I am always primed and loaded with questions when I see my doctors. To date, no one wants to “rock the boat”. They say my meds are working.

    Thanks to STOP A-FIB.org I have been able to educate myself. I can only hope that my research will lead me to a “cure” or at least, off blood thinners and meds.

  • Preston says:

    I was diagnosed with permanent A-Fib last spring (2010) and have gone after it agressively. Since then I have had one cardioversion, and two ablations. The last ablation being at the end of September. It’s now mid- November and I am on my first day with a monitor from Life Watch. If all goes well I’ll be able to get off of Warfarin by Mid December. I’ll still have to take Tikosyn and Caridzem for a year after according to my EP.
    I don’t drink coffee anymore even though I love the stuff. It makes my heart rate soar! I don’t drink alcohol anymore either. I miss it, but even a “near beer” puts my heart into A-Fib within a couple of hours. It’s just not worth it.

  • I am 78 yrs old. Recently my pulse raced to 140.
    I have been a hard working athlete all my life.
    Hospital for 2 days and meds brought me back to
    normal? My pulse is usually in the mid 50s and
    now it happened again. Feeling better for 2 months I went back to drinking two
    a night. After playing golf on the way home I felt it again. At home it was 117 to 127. The cardiologist has not given a different med, I slept better but feel like
    s- Hoping to beat this A-fib. Two brothers and a sister also battle a-fib.

  • Don Smith says:

    I’m a 51 year old male — been having a-fib episodes for 8 – 10 years. Flecanide has controlled episodes (mine last 24 – 48 hours) pretty well — but I have been having more frequent episodes in last year. I have paid close attention to triggers — and here are my observations: I do see a mild / moderate correlation with alcohol consumption (seems like my episodes are always in the wake of at least some consumption. But they still seem pretty random. I do drink a fair amount of caffeinated drinks (I have cut back — but need to do moreso)– but see no direct correlation there. If i had to point to only one factor — i would go with ‘stress’. That combined with times in which my immune system is compromosed at least somewhat (mile hangover, lack of sleep, etc.). My two cents.

  • Matt says:

    I just had an Afib over the weekend – I’m only 33. My girlfriend made me go to the ER, and they said it was pretty unusal to get one at that age. I think it had to do with drinking a lot over thanksgiving and running harder than normal. I think I will give up drinking – it’s just not worth it.

    • Philip says:

      Hi Matt I’m 34 and had afib a month ago after binge drinking, been fine since after coming back to sinus rythym 24 hours later through medication without the need to cardiovert which was next option ,, all so scary at this age but my question is have u stayed off alcohol completely and have u had any more episodes,, I am quite social person and want to enjoy few beers or guiness with my mates I know every1 is different but how did u get on ???? No heart problems in my family and I don’t smoke and good weight??? Don’t exercise as much as I should but am now scared too??

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Philip,

      Please see my answer to Thomas about participating on our patient forum, located at http://forum.stopafib.org/. There you can talk with other patients who have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      We wish you sinus rhythm!

  • Scott says:

    I’m a twenty three year old male, and have been dealing with afib episodes since I was 16. Usually every few months I’ll wake up with the afib (such as today) or it will start randomly during the day. There seems to be no underlying cause, my life is no more stressful today than any before, I didn’t drink any coffee, and I haven’t had any alcohol in a week or so. I have been to a cardiologist as well as the emergency room numerous times (“resetting” the heart with the cardioversion). I have been assured that my condition is non-threatening but I can’t imagine this being healthy for a man my age. I’m healthy and fit, I don’t want to die of a heart attack before 30. Any suggestions?

  • michelle says:

    I am 30yr old athletic female have had multiple episodes – cardiologist want to do an ablation currently on meds to keep in sync. Unsure the best route as being this is a permanent situation I don’t want to take drugs forever. Any suggestions from other fibbers?

  • Jim says:

    I am 59 male in great shape! I can walk uphill all day and I don’t get out of breath, I have had 2 Echos’ ,Stress tests, about every heart test, I can talk my doctors into? Nothing except a thyroid TSH that is 7.95 ( Normal is between .88 – 4.20) That means I have a low thyroid output. I am taking Synthroid, warfarin, and Metopraolol.
    At night when I lay down, if I lay on my back or either side, I go into Afib.
    If my wife lays down next to me and rests on my arm and shoulder, I go into afib.
    I have speep apnea, and wear a Cpap mask.
    Early AM when I awaken, I seem to be able to lay in any direction, and I don’t get Afib, unless I lay to long.
    I don’t know who my real family is and so I know nothing of my health from them.
    My first episodes seem to always start on holidays, after a large meal.
    I narrowed some of it down to foods that contain Tyramines. I am not on Maoi drugs?
    The mini Maze procedure looks like one option, but I really dislike taking drugs and The thought of heart surgery is not too pleasant either.

  • Mike says:

    I am 55 and had a first episode after being sick. ie dry retching.

    Over the years I now get it once or twice a year. It is unpredictable, but triggers seem to include monosodium glutamate in (Chinese food) and alcohol.

    I am diabetic and have used insulin for over 40 years. I know that insulin therapy is supposed to leech the Magnesuim out of the body. It is a salt like sodium chloride – so it can’t be retained in the body. Alcohol is known to leech the Mg out of the body also.

    So I think depleted levels of Mg may be a trigger. Also depleted Potassium??

    I am going to maximuse my Mg and K dosages from now on to see if it works.

  • Susan says:

    Just had my first episode of A, Fib on xmas night. I have been treated for over 20 years for irregular heart beats PVC,s, but never AF. I was on Atenenol then Toprol, xmas night my heart rate was 187 and irregular, I went to emergency room and they gave me a shot of some drug, I’m not sure what, it didn’t work they gave me another and then an iv and admitted me to hospital. It was all pretty scary, they are telling me I should see a specialist for a Cardiac Ablation. Most people here seem to have more experience with this then me. Do you think I should look for a medication alternative before this surgical one??? I did have a couple of drinks early in the day on xmas, I did drink coffee, and I did have a stressful call from a tenant just before I went to bed and that is when the AF started. If I had to guess I would say it was the stress that did it, but not sure. Should I stop all coffee and alcohol????
    Any input would be appreciated!!!

  • Mellanie says:

    Susan,

    If you’re asking if you should stop the coffee and alcohol, then you probably should, especially since you seem to think that could be the trigger this time. It’s worth trying. Some people find that organic coffee works just fine for them, leading them to believe that they are triggered by pesticides rather than caffeine. Good luck.

    Mellanie

  • Dewayne says:

    I had my first A-fib January of 2006 at 49. My cardiologist new what it was and tried to treat it with medication. That worked for a while. In the spring of 2008 they became more frequent. Then the heart rate started to get real crazy fast not just irregular. I moved to St. Louis in July 2008 and found a cardiologist and he diagnosed A-flutter along with the A-fib. He sent me to an electrophysiologist. He did an ablation for the A-flutter later that month and that took care of it. Then in November he did an ablation for the A-fib. That worked for a while then it started back and became more frequent. I exercise alot…do 5k runs, ride bikes weekly up to 40 miles, played senior league baseball. Not overweight and watch what eat. I do not drink coffe or caffine sodas. The episodes got to be daily a for longer periods. They were usually in the evening after I ate. I did drink beer daily usually 3-4 and more on the weekend. I just had another ablation 4 weeks ago. This time I am going the no alcohol route. So far all is good. In my opinion find a good EP that is the key.

    • Mellanie says:

      Dewayne,

      Congrats on having another ablation and going the no-alcohol route. I sure hope that solves it.

      If not, St. Louis is a great place to be – the original Cox-Maze surgery to cure afib was created by Dr. Cox at Washington University in St. Louis, and his protege, Dr. Ralph Damiano, is still there.

      Best wishes,
      Mellanie

  • DAN says:

    Had my 1st experience with afib about a week before christmas 2010. I worked all day with an irregular heartrate and beat. When I went to the ER to find out what was wrong they said my heart was in afib and it was beating irregular at about 190bpm. I was scared out of my mind I have never been in the hospital. They put me on a cartizem drip all night and my heart converted on its own the next night. I am now on cartizem three times a day and have not had any other episodes of afib other than an occasinal flutter. I am scared that I am going to have a heart attack anytime now. I cant shake the feeling. I went to regular doctor and she did ekg said it looked ok but not great and heart rate was a littel high 96bpm but could be from me being so scared that I am going to drop dead. She is refering me to a cardioligist but In the mean time I don’t know what to do I cant get rid of this feeling that I am just gonna flat line and die any mintue. I think it is causing me more stress and some chest discomfort. I am 32 years old and a little overweight but not obese. I do smoke about a pack of smokes every other day. When I first got the afib I had drank about 6 beers the night before. I have not drank since. I am just looking for some advise. I don’t want to have a heart attack.

  • Jonathan says:

    I am 28 years old. I started having problems when I was still 27, about 6-8 months ago. I could not pin point anything that was triggering the episodes at first. I thought they were anxiety attacks. I would have them at any time. Prior to all this I had a whole lot happen in my life in a short amount of time. I got married, bought a house, and had a baby all in the same year. My younger brother was hit by a car and was killed also in the same year. I thought that maybe the anxiety attacks were brought on by all the stress and depression……..and they probably did bring it on, only it isn’t just anxiety attacks that I am dealing with………….it is also A-fib.

    I recently went to the ER for the second time and THIS time they told me that my heart rate was in excess of 170bpm and that I was in A-fib. They did not treat me with any medicine and I went in and out of A-fib on my own while I was there for a couple of hours. What caused this episode? Not sure, but I can tell you that the night before I had had a lot of alcohol, as I had before my first trip to the ER months ago. I am not an expert by any means, however, I do think that I have been feeling better since I have tried to eliminate stress, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine from my life. I tested the waters with the alcohol after being sober for 3-4 months and it landed me in the ER the next day. I am also taking Atenolol as perscribed by my cardiologist.

    I wish I had some comforting advice for everyone but I am very concerned that this is a hard nut to crack. I feel that a great deal of us are too young to be having these problems and think that it all starts with stress. That’s what I am going to set my sights on now is eliminating that from my life. Good luck to all of you! Makes me feel better that I am not alone!

    • Mellanie says:

      Jonathan,

      You definitely have had a lot of stress in your life. I’m so sorry.

      It sounds like you have figured out what triggers your afib, and that is great. I sometimes wonder if some of the alcohol issue is dehydration as alcohol dehydrates us. Since getting rid of my afib, if I have a glass of wine, I drink the same amount of water as wine, or sometimes twice as much, to avoid getting dehydrated. Dehydration was always a sure way to bring on afib issues for me.

      Good luck in eliminating your stress, and I hope that keeps you afib-free.

      Mellanie

  • David says:

    I’m a 41 year old male. Had an A-fib for the first time last Sunday. I don’t smoke, am of average weight, go for walks daily and used to drink alot of coffee and energy drinks as of 6 months ago. I do tend to have high blood pressure, and take a low dose med for that. The doc says that I could control the BP by lifestyle change(i.e.-less sodium, caffein, alcohol and stress). I drink more tea now and occasionally some coffee. Friday night however, before my episode, I had gone out for sushi with friends and had partaken of way too much sushi(and alot of soy sauce with it), as well as copious amounts of saki and beer. Needless to say, on Saturday I was a hungover vegetable. On Sunday I woke up feeling really great. The wife and I had a nice big breakfast and a couple strong cups of coffee. Later that evening at 5 o’clock I put on my sweats and running shoes to go for my usual evening walk(about 2 miles). Before leaving I went to the refrigerator and chugged down half a bottle of cold vitamin water, almost in one gulp. About 20 seconds later, I felt light-headed. I felt my pulse..racing and erratic. I sat down for about 20 min. thinking it wil subside. it didn’t. Wife took me to ER, they did an ekg and said my heart was in A-Fib. Sat in the ER bed for an hour and a half, after which time my heart recovered on its own back to normal. I’m wondering if having abused some alcohol 2 days prior, coffee that morning and guzzling very cold water could have brought this on? Coincidentally, my brother, some years ago had it happen to him IMMEDIATELY after he guzzled half a 7-eleven slurpee coming back from the gym. Anyone with thoughts on this? Appreciate it, I hope this doesn’t happen again, it was pretty scary. P.S.-I also have decided that no more than one glass of wine with dinner(on weekends) with the wife is the limit from here on out!

  • David says:

    I’m a 41 year old male. Experienced an A-fib for the first time last Sunday. I don’t smoke, am of average weight, go for walks daily and used to drink alot of coffee and energy drinks as of 6 months ago. I do tend to have high blood pressure, and take a low dose med for that. The doc says that I could control the BP by lifestyle change(i.e.-less sodium, caffein, alcohol and stress). I drink more tea now and occasionally some coffee. Friday night however, before my episode, I had gone out for sushi with friends and had partaken of way too much sushi(and alot of soy sauce with it), as well as copious amounts of saki and beer. Needless to say, on Saturday I was a hungover vegetable. On Sunday I woke up feeling really great. The wife and I had a nice big breakfast and a couple strong cups of coffee. Later that evening at 5 o’clock I put on my sweats and running shoes to go for my usual evening walk(about 2 miles). Before leaving I went to the refrigerator and chugged down half a bottle of cold vitamin water, almost in one gulp. About 20 seconds later, I felt light-headed. I felt my pulse..racing and erratic. I sat down for about 20 min. thinking it wil subside. it didn’t. Wife took me to ER, they did an ekg and said my heart was in A-Fib. Sat in the ER bed for an hour and a half, after which time my heart recovered on its own back to normal. I’m wondering if having abused some alcohol 2 days prior, coffee that morning and guzzling very cold water could have brought this on? Coincidentally, my brother, some years ago had it happen to him IMMEDIATELY after he guzzled half a 7-eleven slurpee coming back from the gym. I hope this doesn’t happen again, it was pretty scary. Anyone with thoughts on this? It was pretty scary! P.S.-I also have decided that no more than one glass of wine with dinner(on weekends) with the wife is the limit from here on out!

  • david says:

    I had my first a-fib episode in June of 2007 after running to my car in the rain after work late one nite. I felt the increase in my heart rate right away. I drove home initially thinking that it would reset itself. After a few hours i decided to go to the emergency room.They tried to convert me with medicine and were unsucessful. I was then sedated and they shocked me back to my normal heart beat. Im 48 years old, used to run 50 miles a week when i was younger, so im in good shape. I had all the tests done and they showed that I am in great shape. They recommended no medicine and diagnosed this as lone atrial fib. They said to watch alcohol, coffee and all that even though they were not contributing factors. March of 2010 I woke up from sleep at 3am in atrial fib again, almost 3 years later. I was converted with medicine this time. The doctors can’t always determine what causes this to happen. My cardiologist said to live my life, and if it happens again come back and get converted. My episodes are not as frequent as others are. I think as in most things in life, it is an individual thing! Good luck to you all who have this occuring, it can be scary but just get converted as quick as you can to avoid other problems.

    • Mellanie says:

      David,

      When you woke up in the middle of the night with afib, did they ask if you might have sleep apnea? About half of those who have afib also have sleep apnea and it can be responsible for afib that starts in the middle of the night. If you do have sleep apnea, getting it treated might keep it from coming back as often, if you catch it early.

      Mellanie

  • manu says:

    How Alcohol affects your heart?

    Alcohol is a serious threat as far as the heart is concerned, especially it’s consumption in excessive quantities. If you are a chronic alcoholic you should be beware of Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy. It is a condition that is predominantly seen in middle aged men in the age group of 35-55 years and also in cases involving habitual alcohol abuse in short time intervals. Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy is a condition resulting from the ineffective pumping action of the heart due to decreased muscle strength.

    http://www.heart-consult.com/articles/31/how-alcohol-affects-your-heart

    • Mellanie says:

      Manu,

      The quote below, taken from the page you quoted, is necessary in order to put your comments above in context. Alcohol, in moderation, is healthy; it’s the chronic overuse that is a problem.

      From page quoted by Manu: “However alcohol consumption in mild quantities is indeed advisable for the cardiovascular system. For instance consumption of red wine helps reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Life expectancy of a person who consumes small quantities of alcohol is much better than a teetotaler. The advisable rate of alcohol consumption is not more than two drinks containing alcohol a day for men and not more than one drink containing alcohol a day for women.”

      Mellanie

  • Tony says:

    I’m eighty-four, and have had atrial fibrillation since I was forty-eight. And how have I lasted for long – no alcohol! Losing alcohol is a much better option than losing your life. I don’t drink it, but why not try non-alcoholic beer if you really like to guzzle? My best to all of you!

  • Archie says:

    I had my first bout of A-fib about 15 yr ago during a particularly stressful meeting I was conducting and during which I was drinking a lot of coffee and using a OTC asthma inhaler. I went to the emergency room and after 24 hr I was OK without treatment. I stopped drinking regular coffee and remained free of A-fib for years until 5 or 6 yr ago when it started to become more frequent resulting in hospitalization and chemical conversions and also CV electrically a couple of times. I associated some attacks with cumulative alcohol consumption over a period of days – not excessive, but several social gatherings with family – so I stopped drinking vodka. This seemed to work for a long time, but then I found that wine seemed to be a factor. My cardiologist dismissed my conclusions. Anyway, he put me on Multaq 2X400mg/day several months ago and since then I’ve only had one very brief A-fib incident. He’s more concerned about my resting HR which at times is 38, than he is about A-fib and says I may have to have a pacemaker in the future. I do take a whole aspirin/day, by the way, because the main risk from A-fib is blood clot formation.
    I am 70, cycle 100-150 miles/week and my heart is in good shape. My resting HR is 42 and my max was about 162 before Multaq, but now it seems to have dropped to about 147 during bike sprints.
    I am back on the occasional vodka, have a glass or two of wine or beer most days and feel great.

  • Alan says:

    I am 53. Diagnosed with afib( heart rate 252) after the Super Bowl Last year. (drinking involved).
    Had a cardiac catheter – the over/under on blockages was 3. Results were minimal to none. Was given lopressor to take 2 times a day. I took once a day not to interfere with drinking. Every thing was ok til about Sept. Heart rate was 135 one morning went to er, this time they say it was the cousin- a flitter. Meds did not lower hear rate; had a cardio version. Everything was good for about 3 mos. Starting having spells with no drinking to little.
    Bottom line… Factors are age, weight, sleep apnea, ( I control w/ cpap), and drinking . Do not drink, take meds, and get a good nights sleep.
    Will see cardiologist tomorrow.

  • Anne says:

    I first had A-fib at age 16. I was on rythmol for years, and then had a catheter ablation last July. Although it is better, I am having A-fib again. I read the electrophysiology report of the surgery, and they did 33 spot ablations in my heart. 30 minutes later, there were no detectable electrical abnormalities in my heart. I am currently on 240mg a day diltiazem. I am 38 years old. My doctor wants to re-do the ablation, but I am not sure. My A-fib is made worse by asthma but is otherwise just random. I did not drink alcohol for over 4 years, and still had A-fib frequently. It seems to me that it is just something I have. I went to the ER tonight. I did drink about 3 drinks in 4 hours this evening and that is very unusual for me. Maybe there is a connection. I went back into sinus rhythm without being cardioverted electrically, so I am pretty happy. I don’t think I will drink again though. I am pretty scared of anything that can make it worse. I am willing to err on the side of caution, but I am not convinced that anything triggers it. It just seems to happen when it wants to.

  • Anne says:

    PS In case you guys are wondering, I am normal weight and exercise frequently. I don’t smoke or do drugs. I eat pretty healthy too. I have some problems waking up in tachycardia sometimes with A fib. I do have insomnia. I know that I like to carefully read about the specifics involved with other people who have this. Thank you for all of you who shared here, it helps to not feel alone. It gets frustrating sometimes.

  • Brendan says:

    hope some one can help me out. i ended up in the hospital a few months ago and i had been drinking a little taht night and they said it was loner a fib. i have my prom coming up and i really need to know if drinkning alchohol will set it off again i hate not being able to drink its very boring. i hope someone can answer my question

    • Mellanie says:

      Brendan,

      For a lot of folks, afib can be brought on by alcohol, so doctors say not to drink any alcohol. But it may be that since alcohol can be dehydrating, that it’s more about dehydration and you could alternate between water and a drink. So it could be OK to drink in moderation (for men, that is 2 drinks or less), but we just don’t know.

      Mellanie

  • Clive says:

    I am 58 years old and physically fit, riding MTB regularly, training for and riding multi-day events a couple of times a year. On 25th Feb this year I had an afib in the middle of the night and had to be de-fribullated in ICU. All the tests – ultrasound scan, angiogram, thyroid etc – showed a strong heart with no problems. The cardiologist wanted to find out what could have triggered it. Was, I under stress, a smoker, coffee addict, or drinker? No, no, no and yes. I am not normally a big drinker, typically sharing a bottle of wine in the evenings and drinking socially at weekends. I just happened to have had a week of a U2 rock concert celebrations and impromptu parties – 5 out of 7 nights on the trot, the last one a serious binge.

    But, Mellanie, I think out of all the posts you are the only one that has hit it on the head. It’s dehydration coupled with alcohol. The one thing I did not do despite healthy eating and an active lifestyle was drink enough water. In particular when partying I drank none. Big wake-up call!

    I took Walfarin for a month and have not had another event. And believe me I have tested my body with a couple of good razzles. I have been training even harder. BUT, I drink water all day, with my wine, lots before I go to bed and again in the morning. I watch my hydration on a ride carefully. Even then I have noticed that drinks the night before a ride result in a higher than normal average heart rate the next morning, so there is definately an effect on the heart that should not be tempted (especially if you are a white male over 50!)
    The only aftermath is that I seem to be continuously aware of my heart rate when resting – wish I could get over it.

    So my formula, unless you are seriously genetically pre-disposed, is enjoy alcoholic beverages if you wish but in moderation with lots of water thrown in. And if you have a big party no exertion the next day. Let’s see how we go.

    • Clive says:

      Thanks Mellanie. But living by it is another issue. At Xmas time last year I dissapointingly had another afib event after a couple of long evenings (always a day later). At ER I said “keep those paddles away from me” and they gave me Amiodorone IV. I converted in about 12 hrs and they gave me Amiodorone tabs to take home.

      Since then I have had a few more afib events but use a pill-in-the-pocket strategy, always converting after popping about 3 x 100mg within 2 to 4 hrs. Also take 200mg per day before a big event like my recent 60th. No problem after that. My GP has persuaded me to take Paradaxa which I have done for a month with no problems – just hope I don’t have a serious acciden!. I still cycle and paddle ski regularly.

      So life goes on with afib! Just drink lots of water, keep a pill or two at your bedside and take an anti-coagulant. Maybe an ablation one day for me but for now I believe I’m managing it. Comments please!

  • Andy Meldrum says:

    I am a 47 year old male. I have sleep apnea but I use a Bi Pap machine every night without fail.
    For me it is alcohol. I never drink in excess but it is triggered by alcohol just the same.
    I stopped drinking all together January 14, 2011. I went to a polo match in Tennessee and had one mojito (6 ounces) during the match. I drank about 50 ounces of water afterwards and went into Afib that night at 2:30 am.
    I always go out of rythm while I am sleeping.
    When I go out of rythnm it may only be 150bpm ,but it willnot convert itself and usually jumps up to 250+ bpm and I can hardly stand without falling over. My blood pressure drops to 68/40 and I feel like I am dying.
    I am going thru stress testing this week and hopfully the die in the heart procedure to rule out blockage. Truthfully; this afib has gotten into my head and I am becoming a bit fearful. I own 3 companies, I am a husband and a father of 3 children, …this is really humbling. Good luck to all!
    Doctors at Vanderbilt do not seem alarmed and really do not seek treatments aggressivily. Is this common? Are the heart doctors all like this?

  • Brian says:

    I am 24 y/o male, in great shape maybe a little underweight, I eat right and am very active. I first experienced afib when I was 23 after a hard 18 hr day of work. I live on a farm and have always worked hard. There is no heartt6 history problems on either side of my family. I played basball for 13 years, basketball and ran track, I have trained for wildfire fighting (3 miles in 40 min with 45lbs on your back) and those never set off my afib. I work at a grain elevator and am on my feet all day moving climbing, pulling, pushing, lifting. I had 5 episodes of afib some I thought may have correlated to alcohol consumption the previous couple days so I stopped the alcohol, still had an episode. I then scheduled my ablation with Dr. Natale. Had ablation done on April 12th was Afib free for 2 months, then went into it on the 2 month night, had to cardiovert me. I am on Multaq I meet with my dr to figure out the next step next week. I just feel so frustrated that I cannot do the things I used to do with out a seconds thought and so is my future wife, its causing problems with us as I restrict my self from alcohol and all our friends want to go out a couple times of week I feel like the dead weight.

  • greg says:

    Have had cardio version three times all last about 8months. I am 57 year old male, have two to three liquor drinks about 5 nights a week. Just went into afib nite before last at 3am. after having 3drinks. dont know whether to go for an ablasion or quit drinking all together and go for cardioversion again. any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Mark Mitchell says:

    I am 50 years old and was diagnosed in Oct. 2005. I used to be a regular drinker but have stayed away from alcohol and caffeine. I have had 2 ablations and been cardioverted after the first unsuccessful one. The 2nd one has given me good results for about 2 yrs then my mother died 2 months ago. My initial problem was flutter then Afib came on and lasted for a week. I had an Ekg that confirmed afib and am on the new blood thinner Pradaxa 150mg 2x a day and was waiting for a blood test in 10 days then was to have a TIA and then be cardioverted. However I woke up with a normal pulse today. I did start drinking again after 4 years but have not had any in over a month. I work outside in the heat and exercise bike riding over 30 miles weekly. I lost 70 lbs and have maintained the lost for 2 yrs. I do suspect dehydration as a serious trigger and need to watch it more closely. I have sleep apnea and have been on Toprol and was on Flecanide and will probably be put back on it. My episodes usually stay under 115 bpm and while in afib had good blood pressure. Maybe my exercise has made my heart stronger I would like to think so. I must resolve to live my life try to not sweat the small stuff it is not possible to be totally stress free but we all can choose how we deal with it. I TRY TO COUNT WHATEVER BLESSINGS I HAVE AND THANK GOD FOR THEM AND EVERY DAY?

  • Chris says:

    First, let me say what a great site this is. I have found more information here than I have been able to elicit from Dr’s. It always frustrated me that everything was so vague about this condition but it seems that research is ongoing and it is, as Seinfeld says ” a riddle wrapped in a coundrum”. My first episode took me by surprise after a full on morning working in the sun and after mowing the lawn. I went to A&E and overnight in ICU and then went through the usual stuff most others have written about. First I was told I had AF then next episode I was told it wasn’t AF originally but A/Flutter then eventually when I saw the Cardiologist he told me I had BOTH!
    What I would specifically like to know is:

    1. After being diagnosed with both, is it both every time or is it AF only?

    2. I have had 6 episodes in 6 months but they are getting further apart the longer it goes. Do I have AF, A/Flutter for life or is it possible to modify your lifestyle to prevent further attacks, thus avoiding an ablation.

    From what I can self diagnose my findings are similar to most of the other comments, stress and Alcohol/dehydration. I had a stressful job and I used to come home from work and pop a bottle of red practically every night, not necessarily drinking it all, but it became a habit. I believe (all self diagnosed and no advise from medical prpoffession) it became a cumulative process and I was a time bomb waiting to go off. I have since retired and cut down my alcohol intake to a max af two standard drinks a day but often 3 or 4 alcohol free days a week. I feel terrific for it and not having any stress I don’t feel the need to drink as I used to. I’m now on half a metoprolol twice daily but I sleep like a baby however I still have the same lingering doubts and anxious moments descibed in previous letters, it’s a horrible feeling but at least I know that other people are in the same frame of mind. When I asked the Cardiologist the Q’s above he looked at his feet without commenting. No one ever told me to ward of dehydration by drinking plenty of water, which I do. Will it just go away?? Who knows, and no one seems to. All comments gratefully welcomed. Thanks everyone.

    • Mellanie says:

      Chris,

      Thanks for your kind comments about the site.

      I wish we knew the answers to your questions, but everyone is different and what happens with one may not happen with another. Generally, afib gets worse (is progressive), but it’s possible that there are exceptions. You may be able to do something to make it better, especially if you focus on avoiding dehydration, and take supplements such as magnesium and potassium (being careful with doses–Hans Larsen’s Lone Afib Forum, which is listed in our resources, has lots of good info on supplements).

      Good luck.

      Mellanie

  • Gerry says:

    64 year old male. Drank 1-2 drinks per day, more on weekends. Get stressed out.
    Wake up once or twice every night. Diagnosed with afib couple of months ago. Under went successful cardioversion. No alcohol or caffein in the 2 weeks since cardioversion, have tried to manage stress better, and I still seem to be in sinus rhythm. I would like to get back to at least having the occasional drink, but my cardiologist won’t hear of it. Thinking of getting a second opinion. Priorities are to stay in sinus rhythm, get off coumadin, and maybe get back to drinking but much more moderately.
    Appreciate the website.

  • Lawrence Crosthwaite says:

    I have had chronic Afib for at least 5 years. Before that I had an episode and had a cardioversion which lasted for 2 years.Now my doctors tell me just to stay on Warfarin for the prevention of clots and get my INR done every 2 weeks am 79 years old, and had two blocked arteries. This happened after I went into the chronic AFib . My heart rhythm is constantly irregular . I have low blood pressure and apart from arthritis I feel pretty good and am active. Anybody else with chronic AFIB?

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  • William T says:

    I’m a 67 year old man, about 225 pounds, 5′-10″, have been athletic most of my life. Last year or so not so much. I have a blood pressure problem, or did and started taking Lisinopril, 20 mg, which mitigated the BP problem effectively. I’ve experimented with reduced doses and am cutting the tablets into ~ 5mg doses and the BP is still withing reason. I’m a long time blood dona-tor ( 8 gallons now) and my vitals are always good. I take a low dose aspirin every day as a precaution and suspend all medication when giving blood obviously. I used to be a heavy drinker and have moderated my consumption somewhat lately. Non-smoker life long. The past year or perhaps year and a half I developed a fibrillation problem where my heart flutters usually briefly but occasionally for a period of a few seconds. Normally I get a momentary skip and all’s well but I have increasing incidents where the longer events occur. Up until I reduced alcohol consumption, for half the night in bed my heart would race, beating much faster than usual. My usual beat is between 48-54 per minute at rest. I’m an outdoors person and go to remote locations frequently. I’m still working also and that requires some remote travel as well. What should be considered to mitigate my risk?

  • MichaelHeaven says:

    Hi Guys
    I am a fit and healthy 32 year who has been suffering from high blood pressure since i was 24 and now struggling with Afib since christmas. The Afib was triggered by alchohol but i am not a big drinker and i save myself for special occassions. I am obviously very concerned and i am due to be cardiverted in March 2012.
    I am big into my sport especially cycling and i do enjoy the occassional drink with friends and it is an important part of staying in touch with friends and my social life.
    I am concerned that i will not be the same person ever again especially when it comes to sport, exercise and being able to have fun with friends over a drink.
     
    Once you have had Afib once is this a clear sign of a weak heart or is it a one off?
    I dont want spend the rest of my life worried i am going to die every time i have more than one drink.
    I am very scared and i just want to be normal.

    • janspacher says:

      @MichaelHeaven
      Michael,
      I went into afib last October while cycling. Like you, I am heavily into cycling, however I am older, 60, but since they zapped me out of afib, I make sure to not drink alcohol the night before a big ride. I also shed some pounds. Since then, I have increased my milage, especially hill work and am faster than I have been in years. I use a HR monitor to keep tabs and carry a beta blocker with me on rides just in case. I am off of all the drugs.

  • mstudzinski says:

    I am a 64 year old male who was athletic my whole life. I went into A Fib before a colonoscopy procedure and after the prep the night before. I suspect the Fleets laxative caused it. I was in  A Fib and needed to be cardioverted to get out. Lasted for 7 years. It reoccured and I needed to be cardioverted 4 more times withn a year and half. I was then having problems with fatigue and accelerated heartbeat. The whole time I was taking different meds to try to control it. My cardiologist told me I was a candidate for ablation which was a shock because he had told me a year earlier that ablation needed to be refined.
    I had the ablation procedure done and even though I was on the table for 8 hours it was succesful. I will be in rythm with no signs of A Fib for 1 year in July. I have heard of some others having a reoccurance but hears hoping.
    Oh, I almost forgot  3 months later I went in for a checkup and told them I had heartburn whenever I exerted myself. 2 stents later I feel I am very lucky.
    If anyone has not seen “Forks over knives” make it a priority. It’s on Netflix and for heart patients it will be a game changer.

  • CindyMBlack says:

    HI — I’ve been surfing around trying to find info on Afib — increasingly terrorized and depressed by the minute.  
     
    I’m a 64yo female but you’d think I was 44.  I’ve REALLY worked to keep myself young and vital.  I’m an “extreme” skier, backpacker, swimmer, gardener….  And I eat exquisitely.  Nothing from cans.  Nothing with any chemicals.  No red meat.  “If it’s white, I don’t bite.”  I eat only greens, fruits, whole grains.    I cook/eat ONLY with olive oil, flax oil and coconut oil.    I take the best supplements, research them constantly and fine-tune the regime all the time.  I was scavaging free radicals before anyone knew what they were, and now I concentrate on inflammation as well. 
     
    BUT, ON THE MINUS SIDE, yes I do drink about 3.5 drinks a day and have done so all my life.  I used to smoke but quit about 15 years ago.  I DO smoke cannibis every single night, though very conservatively.
     
    I KNEW THESE WERE BAD HABITS!  But I’m very high-strung (my mother was a screamin’ manic depressive) and they were SO helpful.  Also I was certain my GOOD habits would counteract the bad ones.  
     
    WRONG, apparently.  I was Dx’ed with A-Fib 2 months ago. I was put in the hospital x2 days!  Now am on Coumadin and Diltiazem (I hate taking these!)  I’d known my heartbeat was quite irregular for several months and also I’d been very tired and listless.  But I’d gotten “downsized” so lost all my benefits, etc., and HAVE NOT been able to find another job!  I’ve been stressed to the point of panic attacks, and am extremely worried and depressed — sometimes rather suicidal.    Figured that was the problem with the heart, and it would go away when things got better.  
     
    I’m supposed to have that cardioversion in about 3 weeks, now that my blood level is FINALLY in the right range.  They’ve been talking like “it’ll be a piece of cake,” and that’s what I’ve been counting on.  But in the meantime, I’m Googling madly and finding all kinds of horrifying reports on the web.  “Had A-Fib for most of my life…  Had 6 ablations; they don’t last that long….  Several bouts of A-Fib, and they get progressively worse…”  AND SO ON!  
     
    For one thing, I CAN’T stay on this damn  Coumadin because I’m a vegetarian  and all I eat, or like to eat, is GREEN and filled with Vitamin K!  I drink green tea from morning till night.  I love garlic, cranberries, literally everything I’m currently not supposed to have.  I also love coffee!
     
    Now I have cut out the greens, the green tea, all the supplements that “interfere” with Coumadin…. I’ve cut down to one large cup of coffee each morning, and 1 beer + 1 glass of wine per day.  But I CANNOT IMAGINE having to say goodbye, permanently, to my whole lifestyle!  I am truly thinking death would be better.  
     
    WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME THAT THE PEOPLE ON THESE DISCUSSION THREADS ARE THE EXCEPTION, NOT THE RULE?    PLEASE!?!?!
     
    ONE LAST THING (and I’m so sorry this is so long!).  The one other thing I  have is a terror of dentists.  Working in human services, I’ve never made much money.  THEREFORE, I have a mouthful of horrible teeth.  I had extensive dental work done about 15 years ago, and nothing since.  In the last 2 years MY WHOLE MOUTHFUL of dental work decided to commit mass suicide all at the same time.  Not a thing I could do about it as I now have no money.  I have 3 large molars where most of the tooth has broken away, exposing large areas (sidewalls) of mercury filling.  Two crowns have come off, and one implant has come out.  I keep gluing them all back in, over and over, with super-glue.  I have 9 other large mercury fillings in other teeth.    About a year after the biggest molar lost most of its tooth (with just the freestanding mercury filling left to chew on), I began to lose my mind.  Could not remember ANYTHING for longer than about 15 seconds.  Was certain I had gotten Alzheimer’s.  In researching all this, finally came, by chance, across a report about mercury fillings.  Every case history fit my situation PERFECTLY.  I started taking massive mercury detox products (Cilantro/Chlorella and other stuff).   Immediately everything changed for the better, and I have begun to very slowly regain  my memory.  THANK GOD!  Unfortunately all the mercury sources are still in my mouth, and this situation is getting worse and worse as more teeth break off.  So I’m taking as much of the detox stuff as I possibly can.  However, a lot of it (e.g., cilantro) “goes against” the Coumadin.  Great.
     
    In Googling this A-fib situation, I’ve come across  at least 2 reports of somebody reporting they developed A-Fib after they HAD MERCURY POISONING!    And they said they were sure the mercury was the culprit!
     
    Could this be true??!  If so, I’ll get every damn one of those teeth pulled, and just put everything in a freakin blender.  It’ll be humiliating — but not near as humiliating as going around with one side of my face hanging off and maybe not even being able to enunciate.  Being a person of very high standards and expectations for myself, this situation would not persist as I would end it quickly with cyanide.  
     
    SO: If you have any thoughts about any of this — ESPECIALLY re the mercury connection? — then I’d really love to hear from you, Mellanie.  Or anybody!  
     
    THANK YOU SO MUCH.  And good luck, everybody out there.  Cindy Black in Seattle, WA

    • mellanie says:

       @CindyMBlack , You can’t imagine how touched and concerned I’ve been since reading your story, and I’ve been searching frantically for answers. I think I’ve found a really important source of help for you. It’s called the Patient Advocate Foundation (http://patientadvocate.org/), and I happened to find it because I was at a meeting this week with the CEO of that organization.
       
      A particularly useful resource is their National Uninsured Resource Directory (http://patientadvocate.org/pdf/UNinsuredPublication.pdf)
      . They also have case managers that you can call to help solve insurance and healthcare access issues. However, the CEO gave me the name of someone specific to help you. Please contact me privately using our contact us link (http://www.stopafib.org/contact.cfm) so I can send you that info.
       
      I think the word “extreme” gives us a clue as to the possible source of your afib as we know that extreme athletes, including professional athletes and Olympians, are at significantly greater risk of afib than those who do not exercise to extreme. The reason is that the over-exertion stretches the upper chambers of the heart, creating scar tissue (fibrosis) that leads to atrial fibrillation. So a first step is to back off on some of the over-exertion to let your body recuperate.
       
      We also know that smoking and alcohol can contribute to afib, though dehydration may be part of the problem related to alcohol.
       
      Regarding your concerns over cardioversions failing, much of the time that is due to untreated sleep apnea. Do you know if you might have sleep apnea that is triggering the afib?
       
      Not being able to eat greens while on Coumadin is a misperception. You CAN stay on the Coumadin and still eat greens – just ask the doctor or Coumadin Clinic to adjust your dosage until you’re stable (between 2.0 and 3.0), and then eat consistent amounts of greens each day.
       
      There are a few folks who have had their fillings replaced to get rid of the mercury, but I don’t recall seeing any clinical research that provides solid evidence that mercury triggers afib.
       
      Good luck to you. Please contact me for more info on whom to speak with at PAF.
       
      Mellanie

    • njrider45 says:

       @CindyMBlack Cindy  I had my second bout with AF two weeks ago. The one before that was 6 years ago. I stopped coumadin after 6 months, after the first episode.
      I’m pretty active too. Was drinking a few glasses of wine a few time a week for several years before the second episode.  they shocked me back both times and i feel pretty good. I’m 64 too. swim a mile three time a week.
      Been to three different cardio docs and noone is sure what causes it. One very good dr told me high BP is the most common culprit.
      Good Luck,
      John from NJ

    • James says:

      In brief, I am a 56 yr old male in good physical condition. My first A-fib came after a night of heavy foods, beer, wine and 2.5 mg vicodin. I came out of it after 4 hours on a drip IV of some drug. 2 months later, same habits, along with some cannabis. Was in it for 3 days, went to ER, would not cardioverted me due to length in afib. Did thinners for 8 days, got scoped, and cardioverted, came out. Nothing for 26 months , until, heavy meals, beer, wine, and cannabis one night. Went to ER next morning, cardioversion, came out of it but still experience palpitations and arrhythmia. Take 25mg Metoprolol at night which for now has kept me in check. Exercise lightly and no heavy foods, caffeine, alcohol or cannabis and pain meds. Bottom line, keep everything in moderation, or you have to quit. The cause for me each time was dehydration due to a combination of indulgences and exhaustion.

  • CindyMBlack says:

    PS: Just in case you’re picturing me all ugly with horrible teeth: no, they’re all in the back.  From the front I  look quite nice.

  • asalvatore says:

    Hey Guys,
     
    I am new here, I am 39 years old and I just had an episode of Paroxsymal Afib for the first time.  I termed myself within about 1 hour, I had it and went into my MD’s and as soon as they hooked me up to EKG I termed within minutes.  I relate this to the large amounts of Coffee I have been drinking and lack of water and an uptick in my Crossfit training.  I am wondering, is it possible to have this type of episode just once?  Should I stop all Coffee / Wine / and serious working out?

    • mmoss says:

      Hi,
      I’m sorry to hear about your episodes of afib. Have you spoken with your doctor about your exercise intensity? Your doctor would be better able to know whether or not you should cut back on exercise. From my knowledge of crossfit, you should be able to scale the workouts to what you’re comfortable with, but that may be tricky if you’re not sure where your limit would lie (if it is triggering the afib). It may not hurt to scale back frequency and intensity of your exercise until you can ask a medical professional.

      As far as coffee, wine, and even working out, perhaps dehydration is playing a role in your paroxysmal afib. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water because both alcohol and coffee will lead to dehydration, as well as exercise. There is data about endurance sports increasing the risk of afib, have you done endurance sports in the past or currently? I suggest you ask your doctor about what exercise you can do without increased risk of afib.

      Melissa @StopAfib.org

    • mmoss says:

      You may also find this blog post on coffee to be interesting. Some people find drinking coffee is okay for them as long as it is organic, so perhaps pesticides could be the issue. But either way, coffee does dehydrate, so it is important to stay hydrated. Some also find it important to maintain magnesium and potassium levels. Good luck.

      Melissa @StopAfib

  • AlanPG says:

    I am a non-smoker, reasonably fit, and am normal weight for my height. I am male and in my fifties.
     
    Apart from an episode of palpitations and an irregular heartbeat about 10 years ago after a weekend drinking spree which my doctor told me was due to binge drinking, I have experienced no heart problems.
     
    However, my vice over the past 10 years has been consumption of wine. Recently, I have had 2 days without drinking over every weekend, but other than that I have drunk a bottle of red wine a night during the week. 4-5 glasses over the course of an evening never seemed like excessive drinking to me.
     
    About 6 months ago I awoke with a racing heart beat and what seemed like an irregular pulse. I went to work as usual but felt ‘weird’ all morning.
     
    However, by lunchtime it settled down and all was back to normal. The whole episide lasted about 5 hours. I thought no more of it.
     
    Then a couple weeks of later, after having had even more wine the previous evening (about 6-7 glasses), I awoke in the morning with the same symptoms. This time I drove myself up to A&E. It was 6am in the morning when I got there, and they let me out at 8pm (14 hours later). My pulse was down below 80bpm again, but was still irregular. They said I had AFib and gave me a Bisoprolol and aspirin before I left. I was also given a prescription for Bisoprolol which I am still on. I was also advised to take aspirin which I have since been advised to come off.
     
    The following morning when I awoke, everything was back to normal again. I had many tests done at the hospital, including blood tests, chest x-ray, and ECGs. The cardiologist told me on leaving to give up alcohol. Nothing else showed up in their tests and so my admission about my drinking habits seemed to be the basis of their decision about the cause of it.
     
    I stopped drinking alcohol for 2 months and remained on the Bisoprolol. As there were no re-occurrences, I started drinking 1 glass of white wine every alternate evening. I still haven’t dared tryng red again. I was also scheduled for an echocardiagram which I have had and it showed up no problems. My resting pulse during all this time was around 50 and by BP, which was previoiusly normal has dropped below normal to about 115/75 due to the tablets.
     
    After my echocardiagram, the consultant said to remain on the tablets for another 3 months to be on the safe side. He said having the occasional alcoholic drink should be ok.
     
    Since then (about 2 months), my drinking has stepped up slightly, in that from Monday to Friday I would have 1-2 glasses of white wine each night. As this was considerably less than I previously drank I assumed it would be okay.
    One night early this week, I had 2 and half glasses of wine. No problems. The following evening I went out for a meal with a friend, had 1 glass of wine, and the AFib kicked in again during the meal. Not as bad as last time. My heart was not racng as much (probably around about 100bpm or just under), but my pulse was irregular. Towards the end of the evening it was settling down, but my pulse remained ireegular until tea time the following day when it returned to normal. About 20 hours later.
     
    In all the episodes I’ve had, my heart beat has always returned to normal on it’s own.
     
    This has worried me thoyugh. I thought my AFb was down to excessive drinking, but this time it started on a low amount, assuming it was indeed the alcohol that caused it.
     
    What do I do now? Stay off alcohol permanently and see if the AFib goes away permanently, or stay off it for a week or so and then go back to and stick to just having an occasional glass of wine every other night. I really wouldn’t like to give up alcohol permanently but will do if I have to. Is it true that once you’ve had an AFib episode, the chances are higher of it returning? I read somewhere that 1 in 4 people who get episodes like this are likely to get in permanently eventually. That is something I want to avoid.

    • BobH says:

       @AlanPG 
      I first had Afib about 5 years ago.  It was almost always brought on by alcohol and the bout would last 5-6 hours.  It seemed to be an obvious connection that the alcohol was doing something to my body.  After reading about cause & effect, (dehydration and depleting my body of magnesium….which both circumstances can bring on Afib).  I now take 200mg of magnesium along with a pint of water prior to having any drinks & at the end of the night.  Seems to be working well as it has been under control for 3 years with this regimen. 

  • laura says:

    started having AF after being sick with bronchitis was taking aleve and nyquil and asa. Was shock twice back into rythum and put on dilitazem. Had echo nothing showed up BP is fine . Also was over taking my bricanyl and symibcort apparenlty. This AF only happened twice . And now the doctor says alcohol is the reason .Weird eh.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Laura,
      Gatorade may not be particularly helpful, but we cannot know for certain if it affects your afib. It contains sugar, sodium, and artificial colors, and those could possibly cause problems. We prefer pure water or mineral water for hydration, not artificial stuff. Also, magnesium (typically the glycinate form) seems to be one of the most important minerals for those with afib.

      Melissa @StopAfib

  • Linny says:

    Alcohol and Afib
    After 12 episodes of Afib in 2 years, I decided to stop drinking. No more wine, nothing. Last week, after 6 months of not drinking and no episodes of Afib I had a drink with friends, 5 hours later I went into Afib. I would say my own experience has confirmed alcohol does cause my afib. There 2 other emergemcy patients that weekend that had did what I did, stopped drinking and decided to have a drink because they were with friends on a weekend getaway. They too went into afib.

    • Karthik Subra says:

      It has been 3 months since I stopped drinking and no episodes since then. It seems like the alcohol was the reason for my Afib.

    • Danny says:

      Hi how old are you? I had my first afib épisode 9 month ago and stop alcool at 99% and had no More episode. I Am 50. Last 5 years i had problem after drinking Wine. ( big headache during night an difficulty to sleeping). I Am pretty sûre thats alcool is a trigger for me. Hope alcool free will stop épisode in the future. Fingercross

  • Clive says:

    I have had a few afib events and now use a pill-in-the-pocket strategy, always converting after popping about 3 x 100mg within 2 to 4 hrs. Also take 200mg per day before a big event like my recent 60th. No problem after that. My GP has persuaded me to take Paradaxa which I have done for a month with no problems – just hope I don’t have a serious accident! I cycle and paddle ski regularly.

    So life goes on with afib! Just drink lots of water, keep some Amiodorone pills or equivalent at your bedside and take an anti-coagulant. Maybe an ablation one day for me but for now I’m managing it!

  • The truth is that nobody knows what causes or triggers AFib. I just had my 3rd occurrance a few days ago. Its been almost 10 years since my last one. What triggered this? Can’t think of anything special. I think its just one of those things that can’t be identified. BOth my parents had pacemakers. Why they had them, I don’t know. I do think there’s a genetic link. Its all about body chemistry. For some unknown reason, the electrical makeup of one’s body with AFib doesn’t work the way it should. For a diabetic, the body can’t process insulin correctly.In the case of AFib, I think its an issue of processing minerals correctly. For some reason, the body isn’t using things like magnesium correctly and thus degredates the electrical system. I think stress factors also contribute. Each time I’ve had an occurance, there’s been a stress component. First time was a bee sting. Second time, I had been diagnosed with sarcoma (cancer) a few days prior to the onset of it. Of course it turned out that I didn’t have cancer but I found out after going into AFib. This time, the holidays, between Christmas and New Years. Lots of stuff going on during this time so maybe that had something to do with it. Then again, being a commercial pilot you would think could easily trigger AFib since it can get quite stressful sometimes. I can think of at least 3 times that I thought we could be moments from being killed, yet no problems at those times. Go figure.

  • chris woolf says:

    Just had my second official occurrence, I say official coz I’d had several occurrences previously from being diagnosed, these happened while I was on night work and I had been consuming Red Bull and Pro Plus tabs to stay awake! These occurrences I thought was just a temporary fast heartbeat which self righted and no further action on my part was taken.
    May last year (2012) was when it hit me, rushed into hospital after a suspect heart attack which proved negative, it was then I was diagnosed with AFib.
    Dec 22nd 2012 02:30 while on holiday in France, I had my latest occurrence, woken from my sleep by my racing pulse of 120, apart from that I felt ok, slightly anxious as to whether to tell anyone or wait until I arrived back in the UK later that day! I took double my medication of ‘Flecanide Acetate’ and hoped my pulse would return to normal (RHB of 54) BPM I didn’t tell anyone about my problem and as group leader ensured my group of 18 skiers got home. I then realised after 16 hours my heart was still pumping for England and subsequently again rushed into hospital with a heart beat in excess of 150BPM. I was kept in overnight and release on Christmas Eve.
    The doctors are convinced this occurrence was caused by the amount of alcohol consumed during the week in France and not the physical activity, and i have to admit the last evening I had consumed a bottle and half of red wine and drank coffee, and had been drinking most days throughout the week. This occurrence certainly worried me being only 54 and still full of life…well I want to be! Last night was New Years eve and as usual I went out with friends and family and despite not drinking any alcohol I had a great time.
    When I have an occurrence I also suffer from a bit of acid reflux in my throat and slight heart burn which has been the case on and off since Dec 22nd, the interesting bit is I have just read the theory about hydration and how that may keep the Afib beast at bay! I have been rehydrating over the last couple hours and the acid reflux has gone, I know this isn’t conclusive evidence but any hope and all that!
    Anyway I’m off skiing again in two weeks which will be alcohol free for me so I can see if the the physical activity has any bearing on the condition!

  • Bill says:

    I have been diagnosed with afib for years and really haven’t taken it all that seriously, I guess. I’m going to start trying to get it better in control. I’ve taken Tikosyn for 5 years and it seems to work most of the time, but, every time I over drink alcohol (three or more) I get afib for several days. I can usually get it back in rhythm after a few days with vigorous exercise. I also have mild sleep apnea, but, haven’t tried anything like C-pap. I guess I should not drink alcohol. I’ve cut back, but, it is a big part of my life. I’m going to try the hydration method when drinking and see if it helps. The afib doesn’t really slow me down any and I’m otherwise extremely healthy. I wonder if I should consider an ablation procedure. How do people decide to do that?

    • Woody says:

      I was on Tikosin for a year as treatment for afib when I started having serious V tach. The V tach stopped within 24 hours after stopping the Tikosin. Be careful, and watch for the same!

  • Austin says:

    I’ve been diagnosed for the last 4yrs now with Afib at age 54. I admit I drink beer like water , but, otherwise am healthy. I hesitate to take asprin or any blood thinners because I understand i’m drinking my blood thinner. Only other addition is I had rheumatic fever as a teenager, although all X-rays back then showed no heart damage. My doctor says its constant. I’m used to it and can’t tell the difference. Should I worry? How long can I expect to live?

    • mmoss says:

      Austin, thanks for sharing your experience with us here. You may also be interested in joining our lively discussion on our StopAfib.org Forum: http://forum.stopafib.org. To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here: http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?showforum=25. Also, beer and other alcohols may not be effective as blood thinners, or in stroke prevention for atrial fibrillation. We cannot know life expectancy, but you may be interested in reading more about stroke risk in afib, especially if your doctor suggests you take an anticoagulant. This page on stroke may be a good starting place to learn more about stroke and afib. We hope you will join us for discussion over on the forum.
      Melissa

    • Anthony says:

      Bill , I’m 56 and have had 2 pig valves since I was 39 . Have been in a fib for bout 4 years I drink like you I believe, maybe more and I have been trying to quit smoking . I recently had a pace maker / defibrillator installed . Also they are trying to regulate my heart with Tikosyn . But otherwise I feel great so I do believe with some good choices and a positive attitude you can stick around for a good while . Good luck !

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for reading our blog and sharing your afib story! You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients. You may want to post your story there, and share your experience with others.

      We are so glad that you are feeling great and also staying so positive. Keep it up!

  • linda says:

    I have had afib several years but never diagnosed for it. The first time I called the ambulance and was very embarrassed because by the time they came I felt fine and also the doctor said I had indigestion. Since then I’ve had a couple bad bouts, once sitting on the floor with the phone wondering who I could call. It lasted hours and my blood pressure was 148/134. When explaining it to my GP she was confused by the symptoms and when going on holiday I asked her what I should put on my insurance application and she said ‘unresolved’. I would like to try exercise and diet to see if I can get it under control but don’t know where to start. I don’t smoke and seldom have a drink, not overweight but know I need to eat more wisely and exercise but how much?

    • mmoss says:

      It’s tough to know how much exercise is right for those with afib because of how both afib and exercise affect each person differently. You may want to discuss that with your doctor. For more ideas in the meantime, you may be interested in joining our StopAfib.org discussion forum. Instructions for registering and getting started are here.

  • Vinny says:

    Hey guys my name is vinny im 28 years i had a AFIB 5 days ago my first time ever…so ever since i had it i feel like my heart sometimes stops and goes back to normal when im working out has anyone felt like that after twy had a afib? Its scary but i know i been drinking a glass of red wine a day plus over the weekend i had 5 glasses and i have anxiety too and im suppose to drink coffee because it triggers my panic attacks but i have been drinking it and dealing with it until this happen to me..im just scared it happens again..plus i went to 2 cardio doctors before this happen to me i ruled out every test Ekg,echo,stress,24hr heart monitor all these test came back fine from two different doctors..i need some answers please help really scared…

    • Mark says:

      Hey Vinny – I understand what you are going through and I have been down that same path, and still do. First off, you must stop using caffeine and cocoa – i.e. chocolate. If you are able to not use those items, and you find you no longer get afib, or heat palpitations – then you know what you are sensitive to. That is my case: I have not been able to have caffeine or chocolate for 5 years now. For the most part, I have been afib-free.

      However, I have found that I am sensitive to MSG, a very common food additive, found in most prepackaged foods. You might want to consider eliminating that from your diet as well. Chik Filet’s menu consists of mostly MSG-laden food, so I completely avoid that place.

      I too, have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks for over 25 years. For me, stress is a factor in triggering those as well.

      Basically, your nervous system is telling you, that it doesn’t like something. Stimulants like caffeine and depressants like alcohol are perhaps affecting your nervous system. Don’t count out food sensitivities like MSG. Stress surely isn’t helping you, so work on reducing it as best as you can.

      Just remember that you are not alone in this. This website looks like a good place to frequent and learn more about afib. Try and stay positive and don’t forget to enjoy life. This disease can sap the spirit out of you, if you let it. Don’t let it.

      Regards – Mark

    • Johnny305 says:

      Best advice I’ve read, stress, caffeine and chocolate. Family is a big stress as we’ll , learn to control it or it will kill you.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Vinny, If you haven’t already, you may be interested in joining our discussion forum. Click here to get to the StopAfib.org Discussion Forum. To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here. Also, some people find that working out takes them out of sinus rhythm while others find it helps put them back into sinus rhythm. Additionally, you may be interested in reading Mellanie’s blog on “Holiday Heart Syndrome”.

      Melissa

  • Peetah says:

    I have had AFIB off and on for several years. 58yoa and have been taking feccanide acitate twice daily. Usually get the afib after heavy boozing the night before. Typically the afib lasts 8-12hrs from when I awake and converts to sinus . I have tried exercising to get the rhthym back quicker but I’m finding it take longer no matter what I do. Hydration is a must in the morning as well. However I just got released from the hospital after atrial flutter 210bpm. Very scary had to be cardio verted 150 jules. Maybe I should find a new hobby

  • Geoff says:

    I am 66 and have been living with AF for 20 yrs. My first experience happened drinking cold water from the fridge after climbing out of bed on a hot night, however that may not have been the cause.
    I usually get AF 3-4 times a yr and have always been of the opinion alcohol could be the trigger, but since cutting back on alcohol the last few years and only drinking on average 10 standard glasses per week I still continue to get AF. The interesting thing is in the last year AF has happened on the golf course 4 times so that may have been triggered by excessive exercise walking up a few steep hills. For me it’s very difficult to work out the cause, plus i had an ablation procedure 7 yrs ago which had no effect what so ever.

    • mmoss says:

      Geoff, have you considered dehydration as a possible issue? All of the things you mentioned could possibly lead to dehydration.
      Melissa

    • jim currie says:

      Jeff I have had 5 attacks in 6 years and 3 times at a golf club…I do hill walk7ng which is much more strenuous. So why the golf club

  • Rick Grondin says:

    Headed to Doctor this morning with AFIB again. Just was shocked back in 2 weeks ago. It was my 60th B-day last week and consumed quite a bit of liquor. Really believe is one of the issues. Really don’t drink a lot unless are at major social function. This crap knocks my energy out in a major way and stress at work also contributes. Maybe time to quit and enjoy life. Am I over worrying this AFIB? Almost feels like flu without the trowing up.

    • Marie says:

      Just got back from a cruise and I had an Afib attack on board. Did do a lot of walking that I was not used too. I sell Real Estate for a living and everyone always tells me I work too many hours and dealing with a lot of different situations that would cause stress and therefore my Afib acts up.
      It happens at different times and I truly don’t know what triggers it. I went on the cruise to relax and enjoy and had it there. Cut way back on drinking, do not smoke, no sugar problems, take meds for BP, blood thinners and Sotalol, 80 mg, 1/2 in morning and 1/2 at bedtime, When they increase any dosage for Afib I get worse, I am taking a very low dosage according to the doctors,I am
      still puzzled as to why I get it

    • mmoss says:

      Marie,

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with afib, and that you experienced an episode while trying to relax on a cruise! Unfortunately, the cause(s) of afib are still unknown. A lot of people try to figure out what may trigger their afib, but for many people they say doing that is enough to drive them mad. If you’d like, come join us over at our StopAfib.org discussion forum to talk more about this and other topics. To get to the StopAfib.org Discussion Forum, click here. To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here.

      Melissa

    • Bruce says:

      Rick, same story. I think I’m going to quit drinking for awhile & see if it helps. Getting ablation in a week so hope it takes. Like you, it’s absolutely debilitating when I’m out of rhythm. Hope you are feeling better.

  • Bob Peschka says:

    Past Events: Last A Fib event requiring electrical shock to return to sinus rhythm was almost 3 years ago. Eliminated all alcohol and nearly all caffeine. Am retired so no work stress. Exercise 5 days a week most weeks.

    Current problem: When I last visited a cardiologist 3 years ago, he said that certain OTC cold medicines, and especially those that contain an antihistamine, will precipitate an A Fib event. (I had taken a heavy dosage for a bad cold). I am now suffering from a nasty case of “hay fever” with the onset of Spring time and pollen in the air. I would be very grateful if anyone could suggest an OTC medication for the sneezy, drippy nose situation that won’t precipitate a major A Fib event.

    • Ken Marshall says:

      Benedryl at night works the best without causing blood pressure rise,
      sexual dysfunction, and atrial fib events.

      Take Care,

      Ken

  • William A. McCann says:

    I am a very physically active 77 year old growing up playing handball, racquetball, and then tennis took over my life along with downhill and cross county skiing and mountain biking. I have an exercise routine of core muscles, arms, shoulders, chest, and legs that I do 3 to 4 times per week. I semi=retired to Sun Valley, ID where all these activities are available to me and when I’m not here, I’m in LaQuinta, CA playing tennis and exercising 4 to 6 days per week. (No more 7 days a week). I also have a well equipped exercise room in my basement so I have no excuse for not exercising.

    I have an under active thyroid and take medicine for that daily and it’s under control according to my recent blood test. I also have hemochromatosis (too much iron in my blood) and do 2 to 3 phlebotomies a year to keep the ferritin count under 100–which is a normal range.

    I have never smoked; I drink beer and wine in moderation, one or two cups of coffee per day; and at 5’11” I manage to hold my weight at a 175# range. I played HS and college football at 190#.

    In the last couple of years, however I have had dizziness, disorientation, and falls while warming up to play tennis. All I had to do was eat a power bar or something sweet and I felt normal within minutes and went back to playing tennis.

    Last April I had been playing with a pro for over an hour when all of a sudden after hitting the ball, I pitched forward and while trying to gain my balance was actually picking up speed. I finally fell hard on my right shoulder and was in extreme pain. Xrays showed no fracture or dislocation and even though 2 orthopedic surgeons recommended a shoulder replacement, I saw a physical therapist and followed the routine she gave me religiously.

    I went back to playing tennis in July and regained about 90% of my arm strength and was happy. But then the above symptoms started again and I went to an internist. I thought he was going to tell me I had a sugar imbalance but after an EKG he told me I had A-Fib. I have been on a blood thinner for 2 days now and have been talking to friends who are also tennis players that I found out also had A-Fib.

    They had various treatments and now seem to be doing fine. There are no cardiologists in the immediate area although a few make occasional visits to Sun Valley from Boise. I want to make sure that I find the right cardiologist–not just the most convenient–but I have another problem that I have to take care of my wife who is undergoing chemo treatments for a couple more months. As a result, I can’t become a patient of a doctor that I have to see regularly and he/she is a days travel to see.

    I am getting another heart imaging test on Tuesday and hopefully will learn more from my internist. I will have to find a cardiologist next week no matter what.

    If anyone has had similar experiences I would like to hear about them. This is all new to me.
    Thanks

    • You sound like you have an active lifestyle. I’m a 48 year old male with a 7+ year history of occasional A Fib. I’ve had 3 documented incidents, the first lasting about 16 hours, after which I was put on Metoprolol 25 mg daily. This was increased to 50 mg 5 years later after the second episode, which I might add was easier and only lasted a couple hours and resolved with no intervention. The third episode occurred 2 + years after that and resolved with a cardiac medicine at the local hospital also in only a few hours. I like to bicycle often, but my A Fib usually happens at night while sleeping – I usually wake up with the fluttering heart. The beta blockers definitely help to slow the progression and severity of this condition. I also suffer from much more pervasive PVC’s which can be confused with A Fib, but they are more benign.
      Thanks for you comments. I am looking into ablation for both conditions which I’m told has a high rate of success.

    • Sue says:

      Hi Vino, Thanks for sharing your story. I am 52 and have had afib since 2002. I did have an ablation done back then and have felt good for many years, and no medication. well, it is back and now I am on metoprolol now, 25mgs twice a day. Even taken that I still go through sessions of afib and seems it never stops. I am going back to the doctor for another run down of my heart, I hate feeling this way and I am worried I will have a stroke at my age. Ablation do work and I would recommend having it done. Goodluck to you.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Sue,

      Thank you for sharing your story concerning your afib and your thoughts on ablation. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

    • Bruce says:

      Wow! First of all, have you considered that your AFib symptoms may be due to exhaustion caused from constantly patting yourself on the back? Was it important for you to mention seven different instances of your exercise? You’re a stud, okay?

    • Jay says:

      Hi William. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I can relate. I am 62 and I’ve always been very healthy. I have exercised at least five times a week for 40 years. No coffee, no smoking, drinking in moderation. And I am an avid tennis player. But in the last four years, I have started feeling lightheaded and dizzy frequently and do not have the same stamina that I used to. My response to this was that I just need to work harder at at things.
      A year and a half ago I was in a very stressful phase at work. Lots of stress, over work, and I had a torn rotator cuff from playing too much tennis. I ended up having a stroke and went into heart failure. Very scary stuff.
      It took me 18 months to recover. I lost about 35% of my vision that will not return. I am finally back to playing some tennis. I am probably about 85% of my old ability, mainly because my impaired eyesight impacts my ability to see the ball. But I am totally ecstatic just to be able to play.
      The lesson learned here is to listen to your body. During that stressful phase, I was in atrial fib relation for four months with extreme symptoms but I just ignored it. If I had done the right things then, I would not have had the stroke. There are many triggers that cause a fib. My understanding is that excessive exercise and dehydration are significant triggers.
      I now have a pacemaker with the defibrillator. I take blood thinners. And I take an antiarrhythmic medication that keeps me in my sinus rhythm. Without this medication, I keep slipping back into a fib.
      I am not a physician. I encourage you to find a good one and to find the right balance between your desire for staying very active while also managing the triggers that lead to A fib. I have had to learn to except that I cannot exercise the way I used to.
      My stroke was a good near miss. I am extremely grateful for my good fortune that my stroke was not more debilitating. Be very thoughtful and proactive.
      I applaud you for how active you are. That’s awesome. Be smart about it and you will be able to continue to do it for many more years.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Jay,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your experience. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can view a how-to video here: http://getinrhythm.com/how-to-register-on-forum
      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful.
      For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.

      • News Stories on afib http://www.stopafib.org/news.cfm
      • Patient Resources at MyAfibExperience.org
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Steve S says:

    Wake up at night, heart racing 130bpm, sweats, thumping in chest, severe gas, belching and Afib diagnosis. Alcohol and heavy meal preceded each Afib event. Can’t sleep. Only 6 events so far but really scary. Dr says no way gas can cause Afib. Big meal no problem. Big meal and 4 drinks, problem. And, next night certain food brings on the fluttering sensation again.

    • Irene says:

      For me eating heavy meal like steak and potatoes late at night bring on the heart flutters and palpitations in the middle of the night.

  • Teja says:

    I am 29 Years old, i have experienced heart palpitations last year in Nov & December with a total of 3-5 episodes. The palpitations lasted for a minute. I have been evaluated by a cardiologist and also a electro physiologist. All my reports came back normal. I have been on beta blockers for nearly 2 months and have stopped from a month ago. recently i have experienced palpitations again for just 30 seconds. Do you think i need to continue medication?

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  • Aussiecheck says:

    Deaer all ,
    I am male 67 ,having extremly stressful and exhausting job, I suffer from the sleep apnoe, until recently I drank 3-4 glasses of the wine 6times p.week, I have been excercising for 1 hour every day -non smoker , until 3years ago when I have developed paroxysm of AF, and since e pisodes lasting for 3 hours every 3 monhts.I have changed my excercise routine down to 3 times weekly,I drink 3 glasses of the wine 3 time weekly,but I stil have the sleep apnoe and stressful job. After this adjustement of the life style a have not had AF for 1 year. The moral is – do not be the pub person and marathor runer if you have AF .

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Aussiecheck,

      Thank you for sharing your story concerning your afib and your thoughts on monitoring alcohol intake and exercise. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Greg says:

    I was diagnosed with AFib about 7 years ago. Over the last two years or so the episode frequency and duration have increased. the doctor prescribed Deltianzen and Flecinide to control but that didn’t work so I elected to have an ablation in May 2014. the procedure seemed to help for a few months but now the episodes are back just not as frequent. I am on a higher dosage of the medication but I am seriously considering having another ablation to see if that will eliminate/or reduce the need for the medication.

    Does anyone have any experience with a second ablation?

    Greg

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for sharing your story concerning your afib and your questions concerning having a second ablation. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

    • Greg,

      I have had 4 ablations over the years with the same results as you mentioned, helped for a while then episodes returned. I have at one time or another been on most of the meds that are supposed to help but without much success. My last ablation was in 2012 and I now am in AFIB about 18-20% of the time. If I were to need another ablation I would opt for the ablation of the AV Node and make myself pacer dependent which seems like the only option left for me if I want to rid myself of the AFIB.

  • Michelle says:

    I was diagnosed with AF just after I had my c section with my first child at the age of 20! My father had it at the age of 34 was told by doctor that they have never heard of someone diagnosed with this at this early age..they wanted to give me cardio version it I refused as am scared of being put to sleep luckily it regulated independently . I then had another episode 4 years later in 2013 I had another episode which then regulated again after refusing cardio version but was told they would take it into their own interest if my blood pressure dropped any more as u would need it done, luckily again it regulates a couple of days later….so as it stands it’s happening every 4 years and the thought of it happening again scares me to death as I have a fear of being put to sleep especially when they messing with ya heart, thank you for reading x

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding your afib story. We understand it can be a frightening time and you probably have worries and questions. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • David says:

    I’ve been reading several of the comments and replies. I’m 58, my Afib started when I was roughly 48 after a bout of exercising. It converted on its own after about 48 hours. It stayed dormant for awhile, but while going through a divorce it started again and happened almost every time I exercised, if I abruptly stopped. My CD diagnosed it as “exercised induced Afib” and basically said, if it becomes too bothersome, he could put me on meds. The Afib always converted with in a 48 hour time frame. I never needed the dreaded paddles. One day I met a very wise internist who suggested I take CoQ10 200 mg. daily. I started this and within two weeks my Afib was gone, I could abruptly stop running, skating, etc., heavily breathing and NO Afib. Understanding the MOA of the CoQ10, it made sense why it may have helped me. I now take a more metabolized form of CoQ10 called Ubiquinol, but lowered the dose to 100 mg. I do still occasionally get the Afib, but usually I’m under a lot of stress. I never get it when I exercise now, however. My father recently passed and I went into Afib at some point. Too little sleep and excessive imbibing will exacerbate the afib as well. I believe it is genetic, my mother has it and my sister as well (thanks mom). I also find taking an NSAID too frequently will also precipitate afib for me. I hope this helps some folks.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi David,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your successful experience with CoQ10. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Myrna Hoon says:

    I have had two ablations for A-fib and one recently for atrial flutters. I think it is better but I would have the ablations over having to increase Rx too much.

  • Billie Haudenschild says:

    I was put in the hospital for the tikosyn medication and went back into normal rhythm after three doses when I got home from the hospital I drink some beer and the next morning I was back in AFib would the alcohol have anything to do with that

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Billie,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Jennifer J says:

    I am a 63 year old female and had my first experience with af 11 weeks ago. Hadn’t been feeling great, tired and not much energy but put it down to getting older, I have always been a flat out type of person, mow lawns, paint the house, always a project on the go.Had been having some stress due to family matters. After noticing my heart pounding quite a bit and after being woken by crackling sounds from my chest, went to Dr, heart on 170 in afib, had a few glasses of wine the night before, have done for years.Couldnt get it back in with meds and they thought it had been out several days, did toe and cardioversion.Was home a few days, still crackling in the chest and tender abdomen, gp sent me back to hospital, there talking about heart failure, I’m thinking, I’ve had it. They say I have fluid overload and enlarged liver, put on diuretics lost 3kg in a 2 days.i was on apixiban, bisipronol, lasex, spirilactin. Cardiologist ordered angiogram for the following Wednesday. Woke on the Saturday feeling terrible, in afib again.went to emergency, did angiogram and cardioversion again. Six days later just got in to bed, and thought my heart was going to leap out of my body, rang hospital, told me come in if I’m worried but if no she’s pain I should be ok.Saw GP the next day, sent me to different Dr specialist in ablation, as she felt can’t keep doing cardioversion if it’s not lasting a week. Specialist saw me the next day, still in afib he said wouldn’t do ablation put me on amarodion, didn’t like the idea of taking it but I’m getting desperate as it has gone out several times since then, at least now it goes back but I constantly have missed beats even when it’s in. I had a sleep apnea test and am waiting on results of that. Since all of this started I’ve had 2 glasses of wine, one on my birthday and one on Christmas Day and nothing happened so I don’t really know what triggers mine. I have never been a big water drinker so that’s something for me to work on after reading this forum. It’s great to know your not the only one with this problem.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Luke says:

    After reading many comments and interested in the subject but don’t have symptoms of aging but know a lot of people younge and old with aging. The main conclusion I came to was that all the comments on this forum have Alcohol related stories ( beer and wine and coffee or Red Bull. When Alcohol breaks down it turns to sugar , heart racing in middle of night?

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Luke,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • jmm says:

    New to A fibs. 70, no family members have A fibs.. Would wake up at night after a weekend of agility. Kept telling doctors I felt like I
    had the flu. Hurt all over and heart racing. Was told flu systems
    were not part of A fibs. Just reading one persons systems of
    feeling like flu has made me so happy. I’m not crazy. Thank you.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi there,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.
      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • bill nason says:

    I agree with the above- i am 63 retired and a moderate drinker, 1-2 most evenings. The other night i had 3 strong margaritas woke up a bit hung over, had a busy day, drank little water and by 7 that evening, had my first a-fib event ever. If I had to point to a trigger, it would be a little too much alcohol, plus dehydration

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.
      You can view a how-to video here: http://getinrhythm.com/how-to-register-on-forum
      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful.

      For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.
      • News Stories on afib http://www.stopafib.org/news.cfm
      • Patient Resources at MyAfibExperience.org
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Mary says:

    I have A. Fibrillation for about 15 years, I don’t think it alcohol for me. If I run or jump ,or get upset it happens. I take Metoprolol,Cartia,for it,now I exercise every day, I want to know is exercise ok like walking?

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your experience. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can view a how-to video here: http://getinrhythm.com/how-to-register-on-forum

      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.

      • News Stories on afib http://www.stopafib.org/news.cfm
      • Patient Resources at MyAfibExperience.org
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Ronald carmon says:

    Husband had a stroke and is on sotalol he is still drinking heavy he think it want hurt him is this true

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Ronald,

      You might consider joining our patient forum so that you can connect with others to ask your questions about your husband’s health. It is located at http://forum.stopafib.org/. There you can talk with other patients who have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

    • Thomas Fettig says:

      My cardiologist told me that alcohol was not a factor, this proved to be wrong. My advice to you is if you hubby won’t skip the alcohol buy him more life insurance.
      Here is my story:
      After a broken hip operation which was a few days after a heart and stent operation, I started to have AF attacks. I was put on Sotolol. As the attacks continued my doctor kept raising the dosage until I was at 40mg of Sotolol twice daily. At a yearly checkup I stated that my heart rate seemed low at night and that I was waking up at night gasping for air and that I thought that I was having spells where I was not breathing. My cardiologist put a device on me to check my heart rate for a night. When saw the results he call me with some urgency in his voice and told me that my heart rate was dropping below 40bpm and that I must stop taking Sotolol. I had been taking Sotolol for around 8 years and thinking that it was helping, the thought of stopping worried me. I have been off Sotolol for about 2 years now without a single AF episode. While on Sotolol things that would trigger AF were alcohol, caffeine, heat/sun, stress etc. Now I can exercise, I live in Phoenix and the past few days I have been working for hours timing trees in the hot sun without AF. At my mens group we were discussing how drugs affect people in differently ways. I told them “you know they test these drugs on rats. Maybe some drugs only work on people that are rats.” I don’t mean to make light of this issue because it scares the heck out of me. Every time I had AF I would wonder if I was going to see the morning light. Tom

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Thomas,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story. You might consider joining our patient forum so that you can connect with others. It is located at http://forum.stopafib.org/. There you can talk with other patients who have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      Please email us at [email protected] if you need any help or have more questions.

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