Quality of Life Issues from Atrial Fibrillation

In addition to increasing your risk of stroke and heart failure, afib can affect your quality of life, too. One way is through leading to cognitive decline and dementia. Another is through hijacking your life.


One of the newer issues with afib is dementia. We’re just learning about the role afib plays in developing dementia and are still very early in our understanding of it.

Afib is associated with increased dementia risk, even after considering other cardiovascular disease or stroke risk factors. While dementia is associated with aging, the highest risk appears in those with afib who are under 70. Those who have both afib and dementia have an increased risk of death. Since afib is associated with significant cognitive decline and increased risk of dementia, identifying treatments to delay cognitive decline could prevent dementia in those with afib.1,2

There is so much research needed to understand how to prevent dementia in those with afib.

Hijacks Your Life

Has afib taken over your life? Does it make you feel exhausted and weak, especially if you’re in it all the time? Does it affect your ability to think, focus, or work? Does it leave you without energy and constantly anxious and afraid? Are you aware of every heartbeat, and does every irregular heartbeat or palpitation fill you with dread? Is every day a struggle against paralyzing fear and anxiety about having a stroke, heart failure, or dementia?

Do you worry about when that next episode will occur and what you will be doing when it happens? Will you be driving a car, flying a plane, attending a meeting, giving a presentation, or somewhere by yourself? Will it affect your job, career, or finances? Will it be life-threatening?

If this is happening to you, you’re not alone. Many of the people we speak with express these same sentiments. For many with afib, this fear is devastating. It affects every life decision for them and their family members. Afib can take over your life.

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Mellanie True Hills
Founder & CEO, StopAfib.org

A Quality of Life Decision

One day, you may reach a turning point where afib has become so debilitating that something has to be done. As things get worse, you can’t think or concentrate, have no energy, don’t feel like doing anything, or are scared to do so. You may be concerned about diminished capacity and how you are deteriorating. If you can no longer do the things you love to do, it’s time to look for answers.

Because of her high risk of blood clots and stroke, our founder, Mellanie True Hills, was reluctant to go for a walk or go to the mailbox without carrying her cell phone. It came in handy several times when afib episodes struck while she was out walking, and she was able to call for help before almost passing out. In addition, she and her family were reluctant for her to travel far from home by herself.

As episodes become more and more frequent for some patients, often at inconvenient and unpredictable times, it means frequent trips to the emergency room or hospital. It’s frustrating and financially draining. Life goes on hold.

Some people say that afib never gets better; it only gets worse, causing anxiety and depression.

It becomes a relentless search for answers to stop afib and restore quality of life for many with afib.

There are answers. To learn more about treatment options for afib, see medication for atrial fibrillation and procedures for atrial fibrillation.

You Don't Have to Go It Alone

StopAfib.org was created for patients by patients to provide accurate information and genuine support for those affected by atrial fibrillation. Explore our online community and connect with other patients, families, and caregivers.