Atrial Fibrillation.....my Experience

What is atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, also know as Afib, is a disorder found in over 2 million Americans. When the heart is in Afib, the two small upper chambers (the atria) quivers instead of beating effectively. When the heart is not beating properly, and quivering, blood isn't pumped out completely and it may pool, and thereby clot. The danger in clotting, is if a clot in the atrial leaves the heart, and becomes lodged in the brain, the results is a stroke. This is what was explained to me when I was hospitalized (more about that later), and also I researched the subject to learn more about it, for my own benefit.

I never realized how common it is, as a matter of fact for most people who have Afib, the condition is not diagnosed until it is triggered by something else, some common causes are, stress, stimulants,(coffee, drugs, etc). On a sight called,Wrong Diagnosis.com it lists symptoms of atrial fibrillation, which are as follows.


"Atrial fibrillation is often asymptomatic, and is not in itself generally life-threatening, but may result in palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or, if untreated for a long time, it could result in congestive heart failure. The latter can be reversed if medications to control AF are started soon enough." This statement is taken from: Wikipedia

Atrial Fibrillation treatment

"In making the diagnosis, your health care provider will consider the severity of symptoms, and whether they are new, or have been going on for some time. You may be referred to a specialist in heart disorders,  (cardiologist) during this evaluation. Choice of treatment for atrial fibrillation depends on the type you have, the severity of your symptoms, the underlying cause, and your overall health." This statement is taken from a site called, emedicine.com. Below you will find a link to a site that explains the overall treatments recommended for atrial fibrillation.


My experience

My experience with atrial fibrillation began in late January, 2009. In hindsight, I have actually had the condition for years, but because I am considered  stoic, and I don't like to complain, so I've never let it affect my life. When I look back, I should have taken care of it sooner. I digress.

For over two weeks I wasn't feeling well, and I even complained about it, very uncharacteristic. Because I don't like to sleep or even rest during the day, I, and others around me should have seen the signs. I use my bed for nighttime sleeping, not for daytime resting, so when I went to  bed during the day, that should have signaled  a red flag. I would get up and do the things that I had to do and come back home and get in the bed, and stay there until the next morning. This went on for over two weeks. My symptoms were; very irregular heart rate, very fast (tachycardia), to very slow, (bradycardia). How fast? Sometimes 145(resting heart rate), and as low as 38, (my normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 70 beats per minute). It had to get to the point of me passing out before I gave in and allowed myself to be taken to the emergency room. Upon reaching the emergency room, I was immediately sent to the cardiac section of the emergency room, and subsequently admitted. I have no idea what triggered the episode. Without a lot of details, I was hospitalized twice within two weeks for a total of 8 days. As of today, I'm fine, however, this is a condition that I have now, and I have to live accordingly. I'm still trying to live my life the same as before, and to an extent I am succeeding.

I am actually taking no medication at this time. The medicines that were prescribed for me at the time were:

  1. Warfarin, (Coumadin)
  2. Lovastatin,(Mevacor)
  3. Metoprolol
  4. Diltiazem, (Cardizem)
  5. Amiodarone Hcl, (Cordarone)
  6. Flecainide Acetate, (This one I carry with me in case my heart decides to attack me and beat out of control)


I don't like to take medication, so I was thrilled to be taken off all that medication. However I love life and if I need medication I will take it. So to keep from taking medication, I'll be vigilant about my health henceforth.

My advice

Since atrial fibrillation is not a heart disease as such, some might look at it not too serious, however if left untreated, serious consequences, could occur. So, If you, a family member or friend is acting out of character, I advise taking immediate action.  Acting out of character, as related to atrial fibrillation, in this case would be, in my opinion, uncharacteristically complaining, complaining of rapid heart beat, tiredness, breathlessness, palpitations, weakness, etc, also giving in to the desire to rest.  Those could be signs that something is amiss. Those could be signs of something else, but I say better safe than sorry.

Of course there is more to the condition than I was able to add here, so I've added a link below for more details.


© 2009 Alfreta Sailor

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Comments 22 comments

Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

This is very good information. I really appreciate you sharing this with us. It's amazing how widespread this condition is. I'm so glad you caught in time and was able to share the symptoms and signs for the rest of us.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks Veronica for weighing in so quickly. I was amazed as well. Thanks for stopping by.


ralwus 7 years ago

Dear, it is a dangerous condition, or will likely lead to one. I know. You need to take at least the warfarin because you could get a clot in the heart and die! I was diagnosed with it also and now have a pacemaker/defibrillator. I hope you do well dear, and thanks for posting this. CC


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

Thank you fastfreda for pointed this out to us. I have a few of those systems and had test for my heart and was told there is nothing wrong. I have never heard of this and I am sure many people don't know. Thank you again for your hub. My best wishes to you.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for sharing. I have read a lot about heart conditions, but this is the first time I'm seeing these 2 words. I'm glad you are much better now and its good your no longer taking medication. These days, medication has so many side effects.

Wishing you good health always. :)


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Whew fastfreta - thanks for listing all the symptoms. Even if we don't have them we can recognize them in our loved ones.

And fastfreta - I got chills when you wrote about not complaining and being stoic - this is what women are taught to do and be. It's time to stop that - forever. So many and so much is dependent on our good health and being there (which of course can be stress producing in itself) - but we can use that as reason enough to put our health first - it's everything.

Take it real easy over there.

Carolyn


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you all for weighing in. I never thought that just writing about my experiences could turn out to be a public service announcement, especially for, Hello, hello and Lady_E, I am honored to have been able to shed some light on this for you.

For ralwus thank you, I was told by one group of doctors not to take it, but by another group to take it. So now I'm in a quandary, but because I don't like medication I took the advice of the former group. I do, however, take an aspirin periodically. Thanks to you, I will keep a close eye on my condition.

Thanks Bk, for your concern, and yes I do need to stop trying to be so stoic, and I'm working on that, and will continue to do so. The one thing that I need to do is take into consideration my age, and realize that the body does break down.

So thanks to all of you, it was heartwarming to wake up to so many lovely comments of concern.


Linda Medrano 7 years ago

Taking an asperin every day is what we all should be doing, (honey, once in a while is not the way). Also, when we get older, we need certain meds to keep us going. In the old days, nobody took them. In the old days, they died at 55. Don't be afraid to take advantage of medications that can make us feel better and live longer.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks Linda, I need people like you. I have a friend that I call my advocate, because she pushes me to do what I know I should be doing. You see I'm one of those people that won't even take an aspirin when I have a headache. So it's people like you, ralwus, my friend Diane, and my other hub friends that will help me stay alive. Thanks ever so much.


create a page profile image

create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

fastfreta it is hard to believe that you had such an experience in January 2009. You seem to be full of so much humor and insight. I am so thankful that you got a diagnosis and that you are well enough to continue life as before. I do not think I have heard of the condition before, but I have noticed from the comments that there are two schools of thought: to continue with medication or to not continue.

Personally, I believe in natural means to stay healthy. There are no side effects and far more benefits. I agree with you in not choosing to remain on any mediation. In addition, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. As I started writing this comment, I began suffering a nosebleed. Was I concerned? Yes, but I believe there is a natural way to treat it, and I will find out what it is.

I encourage you to find the foods that will help you maintain a healthy heart and be committed to consuming them. Meanwhile I hope that you will never have a recurrence of your medical condition. Be blessed and take care of yourself. We at hubpages need you to drink less coffee, and to maintain good health.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks create a page, you are so right there are two schools of thought and I will be open to both. As I said before I'm alright now, but who knows in the future what will occur. So before anything does happen, I must give thought to what I will do in the event that I have another episode. I like to be prepared in any event. Thank you so much for your sincere concern.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks for a very health wise hub, thanks for sharing. creativeone59


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks creativeone for stopping by, please come again soon.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

I never heard about this disease before. But I know this information from you. I'll bookmark this one. thanks fastfreta.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you prasetio30, I'm glad that I could enlighten you about a not so rare ailment, so, now that you are aware, please pass it on. Thanks for stopping, hope to see you again soon.


sukhera143 profile image

sukhera143 7 years ago from Home

Nice sharing.


WoodsmensPost profile image

WoodsmensPost 6 years ago from Arizona

Well this was helpful. I found your hub on a search, because my mother is going to have the shock treatment done this week to re-sync her heart rate and I wanted to see how serious things may be Thanks fastfreta


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks WoodsmensPost, I'm glad this was helpful. I wish the best for your mother, I'd like to know how it turns out. I imagine somewhere down the road I'll have to have it done myself.


quildon profile image

quildon 6 years ago from Florida

Fastfreta, I just happened on your page. Thank you so much for your wonderful hub. I am like you. I will not take medication if I can help it, and I don't like to complain either. But I do suffer from irregular heartbeat every now and then and my doctor called it a PAC (premature atrial contraction). At the time I was stressed out and he gave me some pills which (shhh) I didn't take. When I went back to him my heartbeat was fine because the stress had gone. But recently I notice the irregularity again. Maybe I should try those pills.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks quildon for stopping. Oh say I just learned something that I found very scary. I've been hearing that people like us are far more likely to have a stroke. Because our hearts don't beat as they should and the blood can clot and pass through the blood stream and cause a stroke. The suggestion is to take a low dose aspirin daily, if the doctor gives his okay. And that's what I do. So my suggestion is talk to your health professional, and see if they will okay that regimen. Looking to hear from you again soon.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Very useful hub! Glad you're doing better!


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks habee, I am better so far. And thanks for stopping, hope to see you again soon.

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