Atrial fibrillation isn’t immediately life-threatening, though it feels so.
Source: Dr. John M.
From Dr. John Mandrola: Here are 13 things I tell AF patients.
- I am sorry that you have AF. Welcome to the club, there are many members. (Six million Americans and counting.)
- I know how it feels.
- Your fatigue, shortness of breath and uneasiness in the chest are most likely related to your AF.
- AF may pass without treatment.
- Important new work suggests AF is modifiable with lifestyle measures. As in you can help yourself.
- AF isn’t immediately life-threatening, though it feels so.
- Worrying about AF is like worrying about getting gray hair and wrinkles. Plus, excessive worry makes AF more likely to occur.
- Emergency rooms treat all AF in the same way. One hammer — often a big one.
- There is no “cure” for AF. (See #5)
- The treatment of AF can be worse than the disease.
- The worst (and most non-reversible) thing that can happen with AF is a stroke. For AF patients with more than one of these conditions: Age> 75, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, or previous stroke, the only means of lowering stroke risk is to take an anticoagulant drug. Sorry about the skin bruises; a stroke is worse. Know you CHADS-VASc score.
- The treasure of AF ablation includes eliminating AF episodes without taking medicines. But AF ablation is not like squishing a blockage or doing a stress test. It will be hard on you. It works 60-80% of the time, has to be repeated one-third of the time and has a list of very serious complications.
- If your AF heart rate is not excessive, it’s unlikely that you will develop heart failure. Likewise, if you have none of the 5 risks for stroke, or you take anti-coagulant drugs, AF is unlikely to cause a stroke. In these cases, you don’t have to take an AF-rhythm drug(s) or have an ablation. You can live with AF. You might not be as good as you were, but you will continue to be.